Doha: Researchers predict that about 123 people out of every 100,000 in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) will die annually from heat-related causes by the year 2100, a newly published study by The Lancet Planetary Health found.
According to the research paper, under high emission scenarios that will see significant temperature rises, 60 times more heat-related deaths are projected to happen inthe MENA region.
Iran is expected to be country to suffer the most from heat-related deaths, while the MENA region itself is projected to have higher deaths “than previously observed in other regions.”
Currently, Egypt has the highest “absolute number of heat-related deaths” in MENA, with an estimated 2600 deaths per year.
The Lancet Planetary Health's study stated that parts of the Persian Gulf are also expected to experience hot, unlivable temperatures that would make permanent human settlements in some areas unsustainable.
The study noted that the projected death rate could however be reduced by more than 80% (20 heat-related deaths per 100 000 people annually) if “global warming could be limited to 2°C.”
Having air-conditioning available would not suffice according to the study, given high carbon footprint associated with air conditioning.
The paper suggested that policy makers in MENA countries should look to alternative means of protecting their citizens from heat stress, such as heat-health action plans and strengthening health systems.
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