Extreme Weather Events and Public Health Responses

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on the environment and actively to reduce the burden of mortality and disease on human populations and ecosystems. T ere is no time for complacency. Actions must be taken urgently to protect the environment of Europe and assure the health of its citizens. 1 Executive Director, European Environment Agency 2 Director, Special Programme on Health and Environment, WHO Regional Of ce for Europe 00_weather 00_weather events_neu. indd XVIII events_neu. indd XVIII 22. 06. 2005 22. 06. 2005 13:01:07 13:01:07 Editorial 'Si le respect de l'homme est fonde dans le c/ur des hommes, les hommes f niront bien par fonder en retour le systeme social, politique ou economique qui consacrera ce respect' Lettre a un otage , Antoine de Saint-Exupery T e global climate is changing. During the last 100 years warming has been observed in all continents with an average increase of 0. 6 +- 0. 2 C (man +- SD) in the course of the 20th century. T e greatest temperature changes occurred at middle and high latitudes in the northern hemispheres. T e trend towards warmer average surface temperatures for the period since 1976 is roughly three times that of the past 100 years as a whole. In the last decades warming seems to be attributable to human activities (man-made environmental changes) like land-use changes, deforestation, urbanisation and the reduction of wetlands. Global climate change is likely to be accompanied by an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.