'Experts' claim disaster-proofing necessary for Canadian hospitals due to climate change

Experts claimed that climate change is expected to bring more "climate-related emergencies" to hospitals in coming years. 


On Saturday, experts in Canada claimed the need to update the country's hospitals to be more disaster-proof because climate change is expected to bring more "climate-related emergencies" in coming years. 

In an interview with the Canadian Press, director of adaptation research at the Canadian Climate Institute, Ryan Ness, noted that the types of disasters that bring people to the emergency room, such as wildfires, floods, and others, are also a threat to the hospitals themselves. 

He said "In the most vulnerable locations, it is very urgent," to disaster-proof the life-saving infrastructure. "I think every health authority, every health ministry in every part of the country should be thinking about this," Ness added. 

According to the outlet, nearly half of Canada's healthcare facilities were built over 50 years ago, which makes them "especially vulnerable to extreme climate events." According to Ness, one study showed that 10 percent of the hospitals in the country were within a 100-year flood zone, and five percent were in a 20-year flood plain which means that they have a five percent chance of flooding each year. 

"The results were quite surprising," he said. "Even under existing climate conditions, plenty of facilities are in high-risk flood zones."

Ness questioned, "Can we afford not to do something about this?" he added, "Can we can we afford not to make sure these facilities are resilient and available and accessible and functioning in the times of greatest need?"

A 2022 report by Health Canada called Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate said, "Adaptation measures that get ahead of the curve of increasing climate impacts on ecosystems, infrastructure, communities, and health systems will need to move beyond incremental approaches to adopt transformative changes." 

The study took a 2019 hospital survey which revealed eight percent of the health-care facilities in the country had climate risks as part of their policies. 

Before that the British Columbia government used the superstorm Sandy as an example of why it was important for hospitals to take weather events into account for planning. During the storm, the New York City Hospital had to be evacuated when two backup generators failed.

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