Climate and Health Rapid Response: Wildfires in the Mediterranean

Melissa Toman (SIPA'22)
November 10, 2021

On September 29th, CGC | Istanbul, CGC | Amman, and the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health held a webinar titled “Climate and Health Rapid Response: Wildfires and Climate Change in the Mediterranean.” Moderated by Cecilia Sorenson, Director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, this event featured panelists Dr. Ümit Sahin, Dr. Charalampia V. Geladari, and Dr. Nadim Farajalla.

This past summer had record-breaking heat waves and one of the most severe wildfires in years for countries and communities in the Mediterranean. Heat waves and droughts have become more frequent and intense and can be attributed to climate change. The purpose of this webinar was to discuss recent climate events, how to heal from them, and how to prepare health systems for the future.

Dr. Ümit Sahin’s presentation focused on climate change, wildfires, and heat waves, and identified specific health risks attributed to heat waves. Dr. Charalampia V. Geladari presented on individual health impacts of wildfires related to direct impacts and indirect ones. Finally, Dr. Nadim Farajalla discussed Mediterranean forest fires of 2021 and the role of climate change. The event concluded with a Q&A session.

The presentations in this webinar articulate the increasing severity and occurrences of heat waves, droughts, and wildfires not only throughout the Mediterranean, but around the world as well. They provide in-depth explanations of health risks attributed to the climate events and the communities that are most vulnerable to their effects. These presentations offer a glimpse into the growing threat of climate change and need to take action in order to mitigate negative health impacts.