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‘Food insecurity Turkey’s top climate change risk’

'Food insecurity Turkey's top climate change risk'

Turkey must modernize agricultural irrigation, use resources efficiently amid onset of climate change, say experts

ANKARA

Among all the potential dangers of climate change, the top risk it poses to Turkey is its threat to the country's food security and water supplies, an expert told Anadolu Agency.

"Drought is the most pressing issue we need to deal with ... As a country, the most important problem [we have] in the context of climate change is our food security," Levent Kurnaz, an Istanbul-based climate scientist, said in an interview on climate-change-related extreme weather events.

Water shortages would "reflect more heavily on agriculture," Kurnaz warned of the alarming risks of drought and food insecurity, which he said demanded urgent action.

So, the country needs to preserve all the water resources it can and maximize its arable basins, especially since three-fourths of its lands are non-agricultural, asserted Kurnaz, who currently serves at the Center for Climate Change and Policy Studies at Bogazici University.

He also noted the health risks related to the falling water levels amid rising temperatures and strain in the healthcare system caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, now in its second year.

"So, let's say that there's a heatwave in Istanbul and we see 45 degrees, there could be an incredible loss of life and we're not ready for such problems," he said.

Kurnaz went on to say that Turkey also is not prepared for other dangerous diseases, such as malaria and the West Nile virus if they arrive in Turkey with the changing climate.

Once the outbreak subsides, however, the top item on Turkey's to-do list against climate change should be the modernization of its agriculture, he added.

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