WMO warns widespread transmission of dengue due to climate change

| | New Delhi
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WMO warns widespread transmission of dengue due to climate change

Monday, 16 March 2020 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

At a time the deadly coronavirus epidemic is creating havoc, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned widespread transmission of dengue due to climate changes that brings rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns.  The WMO has also warned rise of global hunger and large number of displacement due to extreme climatic conditions across the world.

The WMO report on state of global climate 2019 said that the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, and about half of the world population is now at risk of infection.

“In 2019, the world experienced a large increase in dengue cases. Changes in climatic conditions since 1950 are making it easier for the Aedes mosquito species to transmit dengue virus, increasing the risk of the occurrence of disease.,’ the report said.

 In another report, it said that  the frequency of dengue outbreaks has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades and is currently the fastest spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Known to exist in only 9 countries in the 1970s, dengue is now endemic in 128 countries and strikes as many as 96 million people each year. The dengue virus is transmitted to humans by two species of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, mosquitoes that also transmit yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya and other viruses

The WMO report on climate change said that 2019 was the second warmest year in the instrumental record. “ Between 2015 and 2019 are the five warmest years on record, and 2010-2019 the warmest decade on record.  Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. 2019 ended with a global average temperature of 1.1°C above estimated pre-industrial levels, second only to the record set in 2016, when a very strong El Niño event contributed to an increased global mean temperature atop the overall warming trend”, the report said.

The report warned that  for over 820 million people suffered from hunger in 2018. Among 33 countries affected by food crises in 2018, climate variability and weather extremes a compounding driver together with economic shocks and conflict in 26 countries and the leading driver in 12 of the 26.  The food security situation deteriorated markedly in 2019 in some countries of the Greater Horn of Africa due to climate extremes, displacement, conflict and violence. By late 2019, about 22.2 million people, (6.7 million in Ethiopia, 3.1 million in Kenya, 2.1 million in Somalia, 4.5 million in South Sudan, 5.8 million in the Sudan) were estimated to be severely food insecure, only slightly lower than during the severe and prolonged drought in 2016-17.

“More than 6.7 million new internal disaster displacements were recorded between January and June 2019, triggered by hydrometeorological events such as Cyclone Idai in Southeast Africa, Cyclone Fani in South Asia, Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean, and flooding in Iran, the Philippines and Ethiopia. This number was forecast to reach close to 22 million in 2019, up from 17.2 million in 2018. Of all natural hazards, floods and storms contributed most to displacement,” it said.

According to report, an unusually and exceptional heatwave in Europe, unprecedented floods and droughts, above above the long-term average in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and flooding led to the loss of some 2,200 lives in the region, ongoing warming in Antarctica saw large-scale ice melt and the fracturing of a glacier, with repercussions for sea level rise, and carbon dioxide emissions spiked following the devastating Australian bushfires, which spread smoke and pollutants around the world.

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