Home Database Research and knowledge projects Mitigating the Health Effects of Desert Dust Storms Using Exposure-Reduction Approaches

Mitigating the Health Effects of Desert Dust Storms Using Exposure-Reduction Approaches (LIFE-MEDEA)


The LIFE-MEDEA project’s main goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of an adaptation strategy to desert dust stroms (DDS), and to better inform EU policy-making by providing a field-based evidence for the adoption of a strategic plan for mitigating the health effects of DDS events in south-east Europe.

Desert Dust Storms (DDS) refers to the condition created when finer sand particulate matter (PM) from the desert surface is transported over a long distance. DDS pose a major risk to populations residing in affected areas, such as in Mediterranean countries belonging to the global dust belt, extending from West Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Exposure to DDS PM leads to increased hospital admissions and even higher mortality rates. Patients also suffer symptomatic exacerbations of pre-existing conditions, require much medication and lose their sense of well-being, often with days off work or school. Finally, DDS PM exposure is associated with sub-clinical effects on the general population, from mild discomfort, eye and skin irritation to substantial impacts on biological processes and quality of life. Climate change has led to the higher exposure of southern EU populations to DDS PM.

The specific aims of the project are to:

  • Provide evidence for the development of a strategic plan for mitigating the impact of DDS events through exposure reduction;
  • Design easy-to-implement and sustainable exposure-reduction recommendations to follow during DDS;
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of recommendations for reducing exposure to DDS and related adverse impacts on the health of adults with atrial fibrillation and children with asthma;
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of applying models for early forecasting of DDS events and timely notification of the public, targeting susceptible individuals;
  • Transfer efficiently the results in Cyprus, Crete and Israel, and network with target bodies in other DDS-exposed regions in south east Europe.

Project information


University of Cyprus


E.n.A Consulting LP, Greece

University of Crete, Greece

Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Department of Labor Inspection, Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance, Cyprus

Department of Meteorology, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Cyprus

Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC)- Clalit Health Services, Israel

Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Cyprus

Source of funding

LIFE Programme

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jan 08 2019   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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