Disasters, climate and crises

Every year, disasters and crises have devastating impacts on people, communities and entire societies around the world. The IFRC and our 192 National Societies respond to, and work to prevent or lessen the impacts of, all types of crises and disasters. We do so for all people, with a focus on supporting the most vulnerable. Our priorities are to save lives, reduce suffering and uphold human dignity.

What do we do?

The IFRC is there at the right time—investing before an event in disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation, and integrating this across all areas of our work.

We work to ensure that we are always in the right place—effectively using technology and innovation to anticipate risks and disasters, support proactive early action and provide predictive financing.

We work together to make sure we have the right capacity—efficiently coordinating across our regional and global networks to ensure we can respond to increasing humanitarian demands, and improving locally-led humanitarian action.

We help our members develop the right skills—building the capabilities needed to respond to increasingly complex humanitarian environments: digital, urban, protracted, and technological.

We insist on the right focus—placing affected people and communities at the centre of preparedness and response. We continually promote ethical and people-led approaches, such as cash programming, and support response models that are as localized as possible.

Find out more in our Disaster Risk Management Policy: From prevention to response and recovery

How are crises and disasters evolving?

Disasters due to extreme weather events and climate and environmental disruptions are predicted to increase. And while there are now fewer large-scale interstate conflicts, other forms of conflict and violence have increased in the past few decades. The complex geopolitical factors involved in these events often trigger long-term humanitarian crises.

Disasters and crises are much more frequent in fragile settings (areas affected by political instability, conflict and violence). By 2030, almost half of the world’s poor people are expected to live in countries affected by fragility and conflict.

The world’s growing reliance on technology brings new risks and vulnerabilities. This includes cyber and digital threats that we may not even know about yet.

More and more people are moving to live in urban and slum settings, resulting in worse living conditions and increased exposure to hazards. When disaster strikes, it is more difficult and costly to provide assistance in these environments.

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