World Weather Research Programme (WWRP)

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Epidemics, floods, droughts and wind storms account for over 80 per cent of the disasters that afflict Africa. Epidemics of weather- and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, such as malaria, meningitis, cholera and Rift Valley fever, cause massive disruption to societies and overburden the health system.

Developing an effective early warning system is essential to help national health services cope with the impacts of normal seasonal variability in the occurence of health hazards and diseases, and scale up interventions in time to prevent a disaster when one threatens, thus, dramatically reducing morbidity and mortality


Dust Storm Envelopes the Emirates and parts of the Arabian Gulf

A recent example of the societal impacts of sand and dust storms took place in the Arabian Gulf area during the week of June 23rd 2009. The storm has reducing visibility impacting transportation, disrupting oil shipments and raising health concerns. Doctors are warning residents of the Gulf Area, especiallly children, the elderly and those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, to take precautions during the dusty weather. More details can be found in the regional news sites:

This storm is an example of the variety of health concerns that arise from sand and dust storms around the world and include injuries from transportation accidents, valley fever and meningitis. Tools for providing weather and dust information that will be useful for investigating the links between these storms and health can be found at:

Projects and Activities

Past meetings


  • Meningitis Environmental Risk Information Technologies - MERIT Project

  • MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate) Report on “Meningitis linked to mineral dust transport in the Sahel”, April 2011.
    This report summarizes the activities and major findings of the health specific user community test case (Meningitis linked to mineral dust transport in the Sahel" ) conducted with MACC Read more



  • 2nd MERIT meeting (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1-2 December 2008)

  • MERIT Meeting (Geneva, 26-27 June 2008)

  • Meningitis Environmental Risk Consultative Meeting (26-27 September 2007, Geneva)









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