New Report Finds Climate Crisis To Continue Impacting Human Health Causing Stunting, Malnutrition, And More Deaths

Climate crisis confirms a bleak future being responsible for increasing deaths in the coming decades, malnutrition, and directly impeding growth and lowering IQs in children as a new report highlights, the Guardian reported.

Global Health Alliance Australia in partnership with Monash University in Melbourne produced a policy report “From Townsville to Tuvalu,” pointing out the past effects of the climate crisis on the Asia Pacific Region, and that it will have in future. It also made recommendations for the Australian government to mitigate its impact.

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Within the last decade, Australia has faced fatalities due to extreme weather and heatwaves.

“There are absolutely people dying climate-related deaths, heat[especially due to] stress right now,” said Misha Coleman, executive director of Global Health Alliance Australia, to the Guardian. “During the Black Saturday fires [in Victoria in 2009] for example, we know that people were directly killed by the fires, but there were nearly 400 additional deaths in those hot days from heat stress and heatstroke. ”

A cognitive effect on children who experienced extreme weather events in utero was identified. For example, the women who were pregnant during 2011 flooding in Brisbane gave birth to children with lower IQs, smaller vocabularies, and less imagination on an average than their peers at age two.

The higher concentrations of greenhouse gasses are also reducing the nutritional values of staple crops leading to stunting, anemia, and malnutrition in children, between 10 to 20 years of age, according to the Guardian.

“What’s the future for our children?” said Coleman to the Guardian. “These events are more common, more frequent, and not going to become less so in a short amount of time.”

Nearly 120 peer-reviewed articles were examined by the researchers to piece together the probable impact of the climate crisis on the region. The paper highlighted that the rare tropical diseases such as the Nipah virus, a bat-borne disease-causing fatal infection in humans and pigs in South East Asia, might become prevalent in Australia if it finds favorable conditions.

In case the climate refugees seek help from Australia, its health care system will be overburdened as the nearby countries do not have adequate healthcare systems to handle a spike in climate emergency caused sickness, the paper warns.

A 2018 paper by the World Health Organization ( WHO) , highlighted by the report that predicted “between 2030 and 2050 climate change will cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year from heat stress, malaria, malnutrition, and diarrhea,” according to the report. It pointed out that the climate crisis with its various consequences will not only create new diseases but will amplify existing ones and shatter the health care systems.

The Global Health Alliance Australia paper stressed on the categories of health risks of WHO from the climate crisis. They are:

  • Direct impacts from the increased frequency of extreme weather and its severity.
  • Environmentally mediated impacts such as air pollution, less freshwater and changing patterns of disease.
  • Socially mediated impacts such as mental illness, undernutrition, population displacement, and poverty.

As per the Global Health Alliance Australia, the Australian government should be prepared for the insidious dangers of the last two bullet points.

“Severe weather events are causing flooding, particularly in informal settlements in the Pacific that leads to diseases including diarrhea that can be very serious and fatal in people, particularly children,” said John Thwaites, Chair of the Sustainable Development Institute at Monash University, as the Guardian reported.

The report warned that in addition to Nipah virus, the diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and zika, would be spread out by the mosquitos as with the global temperature increase, mosquito populations would expand their reach. In fact, in a city in northeastern Queensland, Townsville, Q fever is already prevalent.

“Q fever is something that is carried by a lot of wild and domesticated animals,” said Coleman to the Guardian. “As climate change degrades their habitat through fires and drought, these animals go looking for green grass and freshwater [and] they find themselves on golf courses and on retirees’ two-acre blocks. “

Arindom Ghosh

A professional writer, blogger, copywriter, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, New York. He has been part of many reputed domestic and global online magazines and publications. An avid reader and a nature lover by heart, when he is not working, he is probably exploring the secrets of life.