MENA states most vulnerable to future heat-related deaths

By Laureen Fagan - 5 April 2023 at 11:02 pm
MENA states most vulnerable to future heat-related deaths

Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect the Middle East and North Africa states with high heat and drought, but most of the heat-related deaths expected with the temperature rise can be avoided if global warming is limited to the 2°C target.

That’s according to a new modeling study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, which found the projected deaths through 2100 would drop by 80% of the total if renewable energy and climate adaptation measures are quickly adopted. Improved health systems also would contribute to reductions in heat-related deaths.

The findings are based on data from 19 MENA nations, with current models spanning 2001-2020 and future predictions spanning 2021-2100, according to the team of international researchers. Egypt currently has the highest number of heat-related deaths, while Algeria, Morocco and Libya are among the lowest. Future impacts would be highest in the Gulf states, as well as Palestine and Israel.

The MENA region is one of the most vulnerable to rising heat, with some areas expected to be unlivable by the end of the century. In the worst-case scenarios, temperatures are projected to rise to almost 50°C with a death rate of 123 per 100,000. That’s roughly 60 times greater than the current death rate, and much higher than other places on the planet.

“Global warming will need to be limited to 2°C to avoid the catastrophic health impacts estimated in our study,” said Shakoor Hajat, lead author and Professor of Global Environmental Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“Even with stronger action, countries in the region need to develop ways other than air-conditioning to protect their citizens from the dangers of extreme heat.”

Image: UN file


Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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