In addition to causing deaths, destroying homes and devastating wildlife and ecosystems in Australia, forest fires in that country expel a huge amount of pollutants that affect air quality and this, in turn, has a harmful impact on health. , warned the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The UN Secretary General offered his condolences to the families of the victims and commended the work of the rescuers.
The massive forest fires that are registered in Australia, devastating natural resources, homes and livelihoods, have also killed more than 22 people so far and emit pollutant gases that harm health, said WMO Mars.
According to WMO, about 400 megatons of carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming, has been released into the atmosphere.
At a press conference in Geneva, the spokeswoman for that agency said that the air that carries harmful agents has reached New Zealand and, moreover, has crossed the Pacific to reach South America, where it can be observed in Argentina and Chile.
"In the central part of Chile, the sky has turned gray and smoky, as recorded in the satellite data that follow the path of the winds," several sources point out.
Government data the third part of Kangaroo Island, a popular Australian holiday destination, has been consumed by fire.
The picture is daunting
WMO recalled that 2019 was an unusually hot and dry year in much of the Australian territory, which generated the conditions for a long and challenging fire season, as the Australian government meteorological agency had anticipated. The organization warned that the current fires burned the essential forests to clean carbon dioxide and warned of an unpromising outlook.
Last November, the rains occurred not only were well below average, but also made the month the driest November registered in 120 years.
In addition, on December 19 the temperatures in South Australia reached 49.9º C and the national average was 41.9º C, marking the record for the hottest day in the history recorded in the country.
Then, temperatures well above 40 ° C, a prolonged lack of rainfall and numerous gusts of wind during the first week of 2020 have established extremely risky conditions conducive to fires in many areas of southern and eastern Australia, including the states of New South Wales and Victoria, national authorities announced.
How did climate change influence this disaster?
According to WMO, there should be no doubt that climate change has to do with this process.
“And we are still not out of danger. The projections of the Australian meteorological agency indicate that the country will register future increases in sea and air temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also said that this phenomenon played a fundamental role in fires. ”
Regarding the health impact of these catastrophic fires, the World Health Organization (WHO) explained that young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases have been the most affected by smoke inhalation.
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