Health and climate change 2

© JL-Peret_UNEP

© JL-Peret_UNEP

Food, water and sanitation: In 1995 the number of people suffering chronic hunger and malnutrition – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – reached its lowest point of 800 million; since then it has been on the rise, with the recent increases in food prices seeing it hit 925 million. More than a fifth of people in the developing world cannot regularly get clean water to drink: around a half don’t have proper sanitation. Some 1.5 billion people already live in water-stressed regions. The changing climate will make things worse, with drought leading to crop failure, malnutrition and illness, and floods overstraining already inadequate sanitation systems and damaging cropland. Reduced rainfall and rising populations in Southern and Central Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the southern USA, will increase the number of people living with water stress, again reducing crop yields. The melting of glaciers will lead first to flooding downstream, then to drought as these natural water storage systems disappear. Changing patterns of plant and livestock diseases will also reduce agricultural productivity.

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