Document / Publication
World Health Organization (WHO)
Extreme weather events are those events which society is unable to cope with. They are by definition rare stochastic events. Europe has experienced on unprecedented rate of extreme weather events in the last 30 years. Heat waves occurred in France, Italy, Portugal, Russian Federation, Hungary and Bulgaria between 2000 and 2003. The annual number of warm extremes increased twice as fast as expected based on the corresponding decrease in the rate of cold extremes. On the other hand cold waves brought serious health problems to Northern Europe, Russian Federation and even Bosnia Herzegovina. In 2002 Romania suffered deleterious wind storms and public health responses were necessary. Last but not least, in recent years severe flooding occurred in many European countries like United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and Germany causing enormous damages, e.g. in August 2002. On the basis of current predictions on climate, more extreme weather events have to be faced in the coming years and they are likely to be more severe. Thus appropriate actions have to be undertaken in order to protect the population and the countries affected.