Greece among European countries with highest winter mortality, report finds


Greece ranks third among European Union countries whose residents are unable to keep their homes warm during winter and also has among the highest rates of winter mortality in the block, a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found.

Titled “Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe,” the report published earlier this month found that the health of vulnerable citizens “remains disproportionately affected by these hazards,” as a result of their inability protect themselves due to age, ill health, poverty or a lower educational' level.

With nearly 60 percent, Greece came second only to Bulgaria among the EU member-states where households below the 60-percent average income threshold are unable to heat their homes during the winter and third behind Bulgaria and Lithuania for over-65 year-old who cannot afford to stay warm (40 percent). Around 35 percent of single-parent households, meanwhile, are also unable to keep their homes warm.

Inversely, Greece also came behind Bulgaria, Portugal and Malta for homes that become uncomfortably hot in the summer, due mainly to poor insulation and an inability to pay for air-conditioning.

The report further stressed that northern Greece, the Balkans and eastern Europe are among the areas where populations have greater exposure to particulate matter, while Greece as a whole ranks in the top five in terms of exposure to other pollutants associated with environmentally unfriendly – and usually cheap – forms of heating.