Global warming could cause up to 10,000 deaths per year, WHO official says

Up to 10,000 people in the Asia-Pacific region could be dying each year as a result of factors associated with global warming such as severe weather and mosquito-borne disease, a World Health Organization expert said Thursday.

Based on data gathered in 2000, the U.N. health agency estimates that changing weather patterns already has a substantial impact on people in the Western Pacific region, which includes most of North Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, according to Dr. Hisashi Ogawa, WHO's regional environmental adviser.

"Roughly 10,000 people ... are estimated to die due to various factors" resulting from climate change every year, Ogawa told The Associated Press during a break in a WHO conference in Noumea, New Caledonia.

But, he warned: "That number could increase" over the next 50 to 100 years.

Preliminary research suggests that rising global temperatures have already led to an increase in extreme weather patterns in the region, including cyclones, typhoons, droughts and floods, he said, reports the AP.

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