GENEVA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Food shortage, climate change and pandemic influenza are the three global crises that are looming on the horizon, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said on Monday.
"All three are international security threats ... for all three, human health will bear the brunt," Chan told delegates to the 61stWorld Health Assembly (WHA).
Chan said the crisis of soaring food prices "hits the poor the hardest."
"More money spent on food means less money available for healthcare, especially for the many millions of poor households who rely on out-of-pocket payments when they fall ill," she said.
The second looming global crisis is climate change, which will also hit the poor the hardest.
"Throughout the course of this century, the warming of the planet will be gradual. But the effects of extreme weather events will be abrupt and acutely felt," she said.
Chan also stressed the threat of pandemic influenza. "The threat has by no means receded, and we would be very unwise to letdown our guard, or slacken our preparedness measures."
The three threats are top on the agenda of the six-day assembly, which are participated by all 193 member states of the WHO.
Other issues to be dealt with during the meeting include the prevention and control of no communicable diseases, counterfeit medical products, the harmful use of alcohol, female genital mutilation, poliomyelitis, smallpox virus stock, etc..