Several Brazilian media outlets have featured Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson’s research on environmental disasters in Bangladesh following her contribution on a pioneering new study on the links between climate change and health.
Ayeb-Karlsson is one of the core authors of the The Lancet Countdown, an initiative from one of the world’s oldest medical journals. Launched in October this year, the report concluded that anthropogenic climate change threatens to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health.
Speaking to the Instituto de Estudos Avançados da Universidade de São Paulo, Ayeb-Karlsson explained that the study is focused on better understanding the influence of climate change on human health, and to propose solutions that can help improve quality of life.
Ayeb-Karlsson’s research in Bangladesh has shown that climate change is an urgent reality for many communities, adversely effecting vulnerable populations with poor access to resources. In the article Ayeb-Karlsson described how she had seen first-hand how the delay in combating climate change has put people at risk. “In places where people produce their own food, if there is a threat to their means of subsistence, it becomes a direct threat to their ability to survive,” she said.
Thanks all for hard work during last week's @LancetCountdown WG meeting and on this year's report https://t.co/Dg436cpZp2. More material from the #Brazil Launch here https://t.co/3dfaaB07yo https://t.co/OP7m1cvJ19 @UNUEHS @SussexUniPress pic.twitter.com/ebqkItM5Cm
— Sonja Ayeb Karlsson (@s_ayebkarlsson) December 12, 2017
For the Lancet report, Ayeb-Karlsson’s has investigated how people’s health is affected by disasters worldwide. Between 2000 and 2016 there has been a 46% increase in the number of climatic disasters in the world, hitting countries such as Bangladesh particularly hard, which has suffered from earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones. In 2007, it was hit by Cyclone Sidr, thought to be one of the most powerful to have hit the country in more than 130 years.
“If people do not have time to recover and rebuild, if the disasters come one after another, they tend to cause great destruction,” says Ayeb-Karlsson. “Prevention is better than cure. In Bangladesh, most of the investments had to be after the disaster to save lives and therefore could not be used for prevention, such as training people on how and when to evacuate, what to do when the disaster strikes, where shelters are, among other things.”
The full article published by the Instituto de Estudos Avançados da Universidade de São Paulo can be accessed here.