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21 June, 2024
 
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EU Commissioner warns of the health impact of climate change

At Cyprus' Green Agenda Summit, Commissioner Stella Kyriakides highlights record heat and urges sustainable health systems

Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides described the climate crisis as one of humanity's most pressing challenges, emphasizing its impact on health.

Speaking at the "Cyprus Green Agenda Summit 2024," Kyriakides noted that last year was the hottest on record and that Europe is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

"In 2022, Europe lost more than 60,000 lives to devastating heatwaves, and one in eight Europeans live in potentially flood-prone areas," Kyriakides said.

She highlighted research from the University of Cyprus, which confirms the severe health impacts of drought. Kyriakides outlined various adverse health effects from heat exposure, including heat stress, dehydration, sleep disorders, hypertension, and mental stress, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Moreover, Kyriakides warned that rising temperatures would lead to more pathogens and diseases transmitted through water and food.

"In the health sector, we need to be particularly attentive to the most vulnerable areas, sectors, and people," she stressed, noting that women and low-income individuals are most affected.

The European Commissioner called for more sustainable health systems with a reduced energy footprint. She also referenced the 45 million euros allocated under the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan to support the country's state hospitals.

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