MILAN, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Climate change could drive up to 10 million people from their homes in the near future, according to a Group of Seven (G7) health summit kicking off Sunday in Italy.
The health ministers of host Italy and fellow G7 members Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.S., and the UK are meeting Sunday and Monday in the northern city of Milan to discuss the impact of climate change on the health of people and animals, Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said in a statement.
Increasingly frequent extreme climate events such as heat waves, drought, torrential rainfall and floods will significantly affect human beings and the animals on which many of us depend, according to the Health Ministry.
The number of vulnerable people exposed to heat waves has grown by 125 million between 2000 and 2016, according to data cited by Italian news agency ANSA.
A related issue is malnutrition. Almost every country in the world now faces a nutrition-related challenge, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Nutrition Report 2017.
The report found that worldwide, 155 million children under 5 years old are stunted and 52 million children are wasted, meaning they don't weigh enough for their height.
That report -- issued on Saturday at a Global Nutrition Summit held in Milan as a satellite event to the G7 health summit -- calls for nutrition to be placed at the heart of efforts to fight disease and tackle climate change.
Another item on the agenda is the spread of diseases due to climate change, such as the appearance of the Chikungunya virus in Italy.
The first European outbreak of this virus, which is spread by mosquito bites and causes acute fever and joint pain, was in Italy's Emilia Romagna region in 2007, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In September this year, the Italian Health Ministry suspended blood donations in and around Rome due to an outbreak of the Chikungunya virus, for which there is no known cure.