2008/2012 “Risks for public health caused by heat waves and cold spells in the area of Porto.”
Public Health, Extreme Climate Events, Climate Risks, Environment
Ana Monteiro (coord.), Henrique Barros, Helena Madureira, Elisabete Ramos, Joaquim Góis, Vânia Carvalho, Sara Velho, Carlos Sousa, Filipe Esteves, Teresa Oliveira, Mário Almeida, Maria Moreira, Luís Fonseca
This project, named by the acronym “Ondas” (waves) was financed by FEDER funding, through the COMPETE programme (Competitivity Factors Operational Programme) , and by FCT (Science and Technology Foundation), looked forward to find some of the existing causality relationships between the worsening of cardiovascular, respiratory, allergologic, mental and psychiatric pathologies, etc, and the occurrence of temperature paroxysmatic episodes – heat and cold extreme events at Porto and Great Metropolitan Area of Porto.
Recognizing the several evidences pointing out the diseases’ worsening mainly in the most fragile people (elderly, children, homeless, mentally ill, etc.) during extreme heat and cold events, this project sought to verify if this did also occurred at the Great Metropolitan Area of Porto and looked forward to define the thermal thresholds for resistance and adaptability which trigger the most severe consequences (the absolute value per si, the critical sequence length, the thermal variability, etc.).
Believing that the mitigation of the damages caused to this population depends on the capacity of the technicians and institutions involved to anticipate risks, this project proposed and defined a warning and risk communication system with measures reinforcing the defense of the weakest, diminishing their exposure to risk and contributing towards a better planning of care services in moments of extraordinary increase in patients flow. Only then will it be able to avoid that vulnerabilities transform these risks into catastrophes.
The project has contributed to the accomplishment of the Resolution of the World Health Organization (Bratislava, 2004) where, among others, it foresaw the need for:
i) Identifying the health risk caused by climatic extremes;
ii) defining the best monitoring system of health risk caused by extreme thermal episodes;
iii) defining the mortality and morbidity specific risk for each community during extreme climatic episodes;
iv) improving the Health Plans and Politics to mitigate the negative impacts caused by extreme climatic episodes.
The project gave rise to the ATLAS of Health and Disease – climatic and socioeconomic vulnerabilities at the Great Metropolitan Area of Porto and Municipality of Porto.
Project in FCT