Extreme Weather Events in Developing Countries

 – English version below –

In der vergangenen Woche hatte ich die Möglichkeit in einem Radiointerview über die Ergebnisse unserer Studie zu berichten, die ich mit 2 Kolleginnen während meiner Zeit an der TU Dresden erstellt habe. Hier könnt ihr den Beitrag anhören und gern auch mit diskutieren: Radio Ecoshock.


Last week I had the opportunity to share in a radio interview about a study I did together with 2 colleagues during my time at the TU Dresden. Here you can listen to the Podcast and join the discussion: Radio Ecoshock.


Next we discover the rare: what are the mental health effects for all the people in the developing world who have been ravaged by typhoons, fires and other violent events related to climate change? It turns out kids are hit hardest, but people of all ages suffer from PTSD – as did Americans after Hurricane Katrina. Eventually, will humans become too weakened mentally by repeated extreme events, too weak to respond anymore?

We explore what little we know with Elisabeth Rataj, the German-trained public health expert currently on assignment in Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines.

Scientists agree that more extreme weather events will hit most of the Earth as the climate shifts. Studies of Americans after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy showed increased and continuing mental health problems including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some people in Japan are still fearful, their lives in tatters, six years after the major earthquake there. Is it possible each hit of climate change could leave the general population less able to deal with the next?

But what about the impacts of extreme weather in developing countries, where studies are seldom done? Now we know more, thanks to research published in the journal BMC Public Health. Three authors combed through the records in South America and Asia following extreme weather events. Let’s see what they found.

Our guest Elisabeth Rataj is the lead author. Elisabeth, grew up in Saxony, Germany, where she obtained a Master of Public Health at the University of Dresden. She did the research on the lasting impacts of severe weather while working in Dresden in the Center for Evidence-based Healthcare. Now employed by a large German development agency, Elisabeth is an Advisor at the Department of Education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in the Philippines.

We discuss an article published in September 2016 in the journal BMC Public Health. The title is “Extreme weather events in developing countries and related injuries and mental health disorders – a systematic review“. That’s an open access article, so anyone can read it.

We’ve been talking with the lead author Elisabeth Rataj. She did this research at the Dresden in the Center for Evidence-based Healthcare. Elisabeth is now employed by a large German development agency. You can read more about Elisabeth’s research into climate trauma in developing countries in this article in the journal “Open Forest”.


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