For health’s sake, we need a plan for future climate disasters: Health leaders

Monday 07 March 2022

With unprecedented flooding across Queensland and NSW, health leaders are calling for an urgent implementation of a national climate-health plan to deal with more frequent and extreme climate disasters.

Tarun Weeramanthri, President of the Public Health Association of Australia:

“Our hearts go out to every community affected by the recent floods in eastern Australia. People have lost family, houses, and livelihoods, and have been cut off from or struggling to get much-needed healthcare. 

“They are still at risk from public health hazards from the flood itself into the recovery, because of factors such as injury, waterborne diseases, and mental distress.

“Flood damage also raises an equity issue because it often afflicts people from low-income backgrounds who have suffered the loss of what little they had.

“We as public health professionals have long expressed our concerns about the health effects of climate change, and the latest IPCC report shows what is at stake unless we take urgent action.

“We need a strategy on climate, health and wellbeing. It’s imperative that the Australian Government work alongside the public health sector, and all states and territories, to intensify actions and commitments to cut our harmful emissions, and help the many communities at risk from global heating.”

Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance:

“We saw it during the bushfires and we see it now during the floods – the federal government is failing to protect Australians’ health from climate impacts.

“Our coalition of over 90 health sector groups is imploring the Australian government to take the health impacts of climate change seriously. This means Australia must make much deeper cuts to emissions this decade, alongside the rest of the world, in order to save lives, prevent suffering and promote good health.

“Australian health and medical organisations have provided a framework for a national strategy on climate change, health and wellbeing. We urge the federal government to work with the states and territories to implement it. The longer the Australian government delays implementing a climate-health plan, the more people will get sick and the more people will die prematurely.”

Regional health spokespeople available.
Media contact: Remy Shergill, [email protected], 0423 075 895

The Climate and Health Alliance is Australia’s peak body on climate change and health. Learn more at www.caha.org.au

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