World hospitals threatened by floods, fires and high winds. Alarming report on. climate risk

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A day before December 3, the established Health Day at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, a team of experts from the Cross Dependence Initiative (XDI) released a climate risk assessment for more than 200,000. hospitals in the world. The report shows that hospitals at risk from floods and other extreme weather events are surprisingly numerous, and some face a real threat of closure. According to the authors of the analysis, problems in the health care infrastructure will worsen over time.

How is the climate threatening hospitals around the world?

The XDI analysis considers six major risk factors that are directly related to climate change, the severity of which threatens the physical infrastructure of hospitals. Three of them involve different types of flooding and include river flooding, rising surface water levels and flooding of coastal areas with seawater. In these scenarios, heavy rainfall is a problem, but so are high winds, tides and waves. Hospitals at risk of flooding are primarily buildings located in coastal zones and along rivers, as well as low-lying facilities.

Health care infrastructure is also threatened by high winds, spreading forest fires and cyclones. These extreme weather events can damage building structures, significantly reducing patient safety, as well as the ability to provide quality healthcare services. As XDI analysts point out, the paradox is that it is during periods of meteorological disasters that medical assistance is most needed.

South and Southeast Asia – the highest risk regions

The climate risk analysis covered more than 200,000. hospitals on six continents. The surveyed sites were classified into three categories: high, medium and low risk. High-risk hospitals are buildings that will have to be completely or partially closed by the end of this century in the event of a negative climate change scenario. The report counted more than 16,000 of them. – It is thus one in twelve of the analyzed facilities.

Hospitals at risk from floods, fires and wind classified as high-risk are primarily located in countries with low and medium GDP. Most have been identified in India and China. The first five countries in the infamous hospital risk ranking are located in Asia. However, Brazil, Russia and the United States are also in the top ten.

In a closer regional analysis, the highest percentage of high-risk hospitals was registered in Southeast Asia, which also saw the largest increase in the risk of harm – by up to 67 percent. (D) compared to 1990. And in South Asia, due to its exceptionally large population, the number of hospitals at risk is officially the highest – estimated to reach one-third of all high-risk hospitals worldwide by 2050.

hospitals at risk from floods
World hospitals threatened by floods, fires and high winds. Alarming report on. climate risk 1

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Hospitals at risk from floods – Europe’s biggest problem

The consequences of extreme weather events are not sparing Europe’s health infrastructure either. Italy ranked high in the aforementioned ranking with 137 high-risk hospitals, as well as Ukraine and France (118 and 103, respectively). Poland was ranked 35 with 57 hospital facilities with a very uncertain future.

Interestingly, in Europe, currently the greatest risk is from flooding from rivers, but by 2050, hospitals at risk from flooding from the seas will become a major concern. A similar trend is forecast for East Asia, North America and North Africa. Risks from fires, on the other hand, are most serious in Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa.

Future of hospitals depends on phasing out fossil fuels

The climate risk analysis prepared by XDI considers two scenarios. In the more pessimistic one, the average global temperature by 2100. will increase by 4.3°C compared to the pre-industrial era. The optimistic alternative assumes that we can reduce our use of fossil fuels and keep global warming in check to +1.8°C.

Thus, only a drastic reduction in emissions can save the world from the bleak vision of meteorological cataclysms, after which it will be difficult to provide medical assistance to the affected. In a negative scenario, by 2100. The closure may require nearly 6,000. hospitals in South Asia, approx. 1,800. facilities in South and Central America and more than 2,000. North America. Also in Europe, hospitals at risk of flooding will be forced to partially or completely close by the end of the century – the number is estimated at more than 1,000.

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