WHO: Climate Change Threatens Pacific Hospitals

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Hospitals in Solomons, Tonga, and Marshalls particularly vulnerable

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, February 2, 2015) – The World Health Organisation says hospitals in the Pacific region are struggling to cope with the effects of climate change and coastal erosion.

The WHO's environmental health specialist in Fiji, Rok-ho Kim, says flash flooding, droughts, and king tides mean some hospitals near the coast are not able to supply patients with safe drinking water.

Dr Kim says hospitals in Solomon Islands, Tonga and the Marshall Islands are particularly vulnerable.

"A prominent one is in the Solomon Islands, the National Referral Hospital, it's very close to the shoreline. And this shoreline is approaching towards the building in the past decade. We have a very good air view of how the sea line was approaching since World War Two."

Rok-ho Kim told delegates at a recent workshop hosted by Korean scientists in Fiji that developed countries have an obligation to help Pacific nations cover the cost of relocating their hospitals to higher ground.

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