Climatological

External ID
100
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19
| Press release

New report: Climate change added average of 26 days of extreme heat over last year

On Tuesday (28 May), Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, World Weather Attribution and Climate Central released a report looking at the role climate change played in increasing the number of extreme heat days around the world over the last twelve months. It was already known that 2023 was the hottest on record. The report confirmed that almost all the world’s population was affected by extreme heat days caused by human-induced climate change. Across all places in the world, an average of 26 days were ‘excess’ extreme heat days which would probably not have occurred without climate change. (Methodology below)Heat Action Day – organised by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre – draws attention to the threat of extreme heat and what can be done to mitigate it.National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world are sharing ideas via a dedicated website. As part of a ‘Heat Action Sprint’ - organised alongside USAID and launched at a Heat Summit in late March – people are being urged to hold events and share artwork to highlight the danger of extreme heat to lives and livelihoods.Attention is needed this year more than any other.Why?There is an ongoing extreme heatwave in Asia – across Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysiaand The Philippines.Across Bangladesh alone, the extreme heat has hit 57 of 64 districts, well over 120 millionpeople. In Myanmaran extreme temperature of 48.2°C was recorded on 28 April – the highest ever in the country.In Nepal, the city of Nepalgunjisin the grip of weeks of temperatures of more than 40°C.There have been long-lasting recent heatwaves this year across swathes of Africatoo.Extreme heat is known to have killed tens of thousands of people over the last 12 months, but the real number is likely in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. Unlike sudden ‘event’ weather disasters, heatwaves kill more slowly and less obviously; they are often exacerbatorsof pre-existing medical conditions.Heatwaveshit the vulnerable the hardest – the young, the old, the poor and those obliged to work outdoors.National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are at the forefront of actions to mitigate extreme heat. In Bangladesh, for example, a first-ever ‘Early Action Protocol’ was launched last month, targeting 123,700 people with early warning messages, safe drinking water and oral saline solution,and cooling stations. In Nepal, a three-year collaboration (between the IFRC, the Nepal Red Cross Society, city authorities and others) in the city of Nepalgunjhas culminated in a detailed Heat Action Plan which is serving as a best-in-class example for cities around the world. Cities are where extreme heat is most dangerous so that’s where efforts are focused. Locally-ledplans and adaptation, early warning systems, information campaigns and efforts focused on the most vulnerable are what saves lives. Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary-General, said:“Flooding and hurricanes may capture the headlines, but the impacts of extreme heat are equally deadly. That’s why Heat Action Day matters so much. We need to focus attention on climate change’s silent killer. The IFRC is making heat - and urban action to reduce its impacts - a priority and remains committed to working with communities that are at risk of extreme heat through our global network of National Societies.”Aditya V. Bahadur, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre said:“This report provides overwhelming scientific evidence that extreme heat is a deadly manifestation of the climate crisis. This wreaks havoc on human health, critical infrastructure, the economy, agriculture and the environment, thereby eroding gains in human development and decreasing wellbeing- especially for poor and marginalized communities in the global South.”At 4pm on Tuesday 28 May, authors will hold a webinar briefing on the details of the report. Register here.For further details or requests for interviews:[email protected] Thomas +41 76 367 6587Tommaso Della Longa +41 797 084367CLIMATE CENTRAL METHODOLOGY – summaryPlease use contacts above for the full report.Climate Central looked at the years 1991 to 2020 and worked out what temperatures counted as within the top 10% for each country over that period.Then Climate Central looked at the number of days between May 15 2023 and May 15 2024 (‘the recent year’) when peak temperatures were within, or beyond, the previous top 10% range. As a next step, they applied their Climate Shift Index (CSI), which uses peer-reviewed methodology to quantify the influence of climate change on daily temperatures. Where the CSI level was 2 or above (meaning climate change made the heat at least twice as likely), they counted the day in question as an excess heat day due to climate change. They compared the recent year's temperatures with counterfactual temperatures - the temperatures that would have occurred in a world without human-caused climate change. They counted the number of days with temperatures within or beyond the 'top 10%' band, and where the CSI said climate change made the temperatures at least twice as likely, and subtracted the number of times the counterfactual temperatures reached or exceeded this level.The conclusion? Over the last 12 months, human-caused climate change added — on average, across all places in the world — 26 more days of extreme heat than there would have been without it.6.8 billion people – 78% of world’s population – experienced at least 31 days (about one month) of extreme heat.

Read more
| Podcast

Dr. Asha Mohammed: From dentist to humanitarian leader, her passion and leadership now focused on Africa’s biggest challenges

Dr. Asha Mohammed began her career as a dentist in low-income communities in Kenya. Her passion for helping others and her evident leadership skills led her to key roles battling HiV/AIDS and, eventually, to the role of Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross. She now serves as IFRC’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and International Organizations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From there, she’s taking on climate change, a massive regional hunger crisis, and outbreaks of infectious diseases, among other challenges. In this episode, she talks about the solutions to those challenges. And what it was like being a pioneering woman leader in public health. “When I mentor young women, I tell them, ‘You can be what you want to be. It's really about understanding that you have these different roles to play and that you can find the right balance.”

Read more
| Press release

Deadly heatwave in the Sahel and West Africa would have been impossible without human-caused climate change

The recent deadly heatwave in the Sahel and West Africa with temperatures above 45°C would not have been possible without human-caused climate change, according to rapid analysis by an international team of leading climate scientists from theWorld Weather Attributiongroup.In late March and early this April, extreme heat impacted countries in the Sahel and West Africa. The hottest temperature occurred on April 3, when Mali recorded 48.5°C. In Bamako, the Gabriel-Toure Hospital announced a surge in excess deaths, with 102 deaths over the first four days of April.Around half were over the age of 60 and the hospital reports that heat likely played a role in many of the deaths. A lack of data in the countries affected makes it impossible to know how many people were killed, however it’s likely there were hundreds or possibly thousands of other heat-related deaths.“Year-round heat is part of life in the Sahel and regions of West Africa," said Kiswendsida Guigma, Climate Scientist at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre in Burkina Faso. "However, the extreme temperatures were unprecedented in many places and the surge in excess deaths reported by the Gabriel-Toure Hospital in Mali highlighted just how dangerous the heat was.“For some, a heatwave being 1.4 or 1.5°C hotter because of climate change might not sound like a big increase. But this additional heat would have been the difference between life and death for many people.”Climate change, caused by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas, and other human activities, is making heatwaves more frequent, longer and hotter around the world. To quantify the effect of human-caused warming on the extreme temperatures in the Sahel and West Africa, scientists analysed weather data and climate models to compare how these types of events have changed between today’s climate, with approximately 1.2°C of global warming, and the cooler pre-industrial climate using peer-reviewed methods.The analysis looked at the five-day average of maximum daily temperatures in two areas: one that includes southern regions of Mali and Burkina Faso, where the heat was most extreme, and a larger area including regions of Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, where temperatures were widely above 40°C.To investigate hot night time temperatures, which can be dangerous when the human body cannot rest and recover, the researchers also analysed the five-day average of minimum temperatures for the Mali and Burkina Faso region.The scientists found that both the daytime and nighttime heatwaves, across both regions, would have been impossible if humans had not warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas, and with other activities like deforestation. Climate change made the maximum temperatures 1.5°C hotter and the nighttime temperatures 2°C hotter for the Burkina Faso and Mali region, and the five-day daytime temperatures for the wider region 1.4°C hotter.A heatwave like the recent one is still relatively rare, even in today’s climate with 1.2°C of warming, the researchers found. Across the wider West Africa region, similarly high daytime temperatures can be expected about once every 30 years. However, daytime temperatures like those experienced in Mali and Burkina Faso, where heat-related fatalities were reported, are expected around once in every 200 years.More common, more dangerousBut events like these will become much more common, and even more dangerous, unless the world moves away from fossil fuels and countries rapidly reduce emissions to net zero. If global warming reaches 2°C, as is expected to occur in the 2040s or 2050s unless emissions are rapidly halted, similar events will occur 10 times more frequently.The researchers also quantified the possible influence of El Niño on the heat, but found that its effect was not significant when compared with the influence of human-caused climate change.The study highlights factors that worsened the impacts of the heat across the region. The heat occurred at the end of Ramadan when many Muslim people fast during the day. The Sahel region has a large Muslim population and while high temperatures are common in April, the researchers say the relentless day and nighttime heat would have been overwhelming for many people who were abstaining from food and water.They also note that conflict, poverty, limited access to safe drinking water, rapid urbanisation and strained health systems likely worsened the impacts.Heat action plans that set out emergency responses to dangerous heat are extremely effective at reducing heat-related deaths during heatwaves. However, neither Burkina Faso or Mali have one in place. Given the increasing risk of dangerous heat in the Sahel and West Africa, the researchers say developing heat action plans will help to save lives and lessen the burden of extreme heat on health systems.Finally, the researchers say the Gabriel-Toure Hospital’s rapid reporting of heat-related deaths was a valuable illustration of the dangers of extreme heat that would have likely acted as an effective warning for people in the region.The study was conducted by 19 researchers as part of the World Weather Attribution group, including scientists from universities, organisations and meteorological agencies in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa, The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.For further information, media may contact:Andrew Thomas, IFRC Senior Media Officer, Media RelationsMob: +41 76 367 6587

Read more
| Article

Heatwaves: IFRC Global Heat Summit to tackle the ‘invisible killer’

With heatwaves becoming more frequent and extreme — and claiming more lives — they are increasingly being recognized as one of the deadliest consequences of climate change.A global heat summit hosted by the IFRC on Thursday 28 March (13:30 CET)seeks to raise the alarm about the growing urgency of heatwaves and the threat they pose to human health and well-being.Organized in partnership with USAID, the summit aims to stimulate dialogue and investment around solutions that will save lives and mitigate costs through improved preparedness, early warning, coordination and rapid response, among other things.USAID Administrator Samantha Power and IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain will be joined by leaders from across the globe who are developing innovative solutions to lessen the impacts of extreme heat events. The summit is open to all whoregister for the online live stream. Extreme heat is generally defined as prolonged periods with temperatures above 37 C. But recent heatwaves have far surpassed normal expectations. In Brazil, recently, temperatures in some cities topped 60 Celcius. In parts of North Africa and Southeast Asia, heatwaves routinely reach into the 50s.“Parts ofSouth America and Australia are just emerging from their two hottest summers ever,” notes IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain. “Worldwide, 2023 was the hottest on record -by a huge margin. Half the world’s people – 3.8 billion in fact – simmered under extreme heat for at least one day last year.”“And right now, there’s an unprecedented closure of schools across South Sudan. It’s due not to conflict or economic woes, but an extraordinary surge in temperatures to over 42°C (108°F).”For the IFRC, the Summit will also be the occasion to launch a two-month campaign of action on extreme heat ahead ofHeat Action Day on June 2nd. The campaign will include an online toolkit to help guide people spread knowledge and prepare for the northern hemisphere’s summer season, which for many has already begun.Silent killersHeatwaves are sometimes referred to as ‘silent’ or ‘invisible’ killers because the people who succumb often die in their homes and their deaths may not be initially ecognized as being caused by prolonged heat.However, health authorities and climate scientists are seeing a clear correlation between high temperatures and higher death rates in many parts of the world.Heatwavesacross Europe killed more than 60,000 people in 2022; in theUnited Kingdom, roads melted and almost 3000 died.India sees at least 1,000 deaths a year attributable to extreme heat. In the United States, the number is similar. According to The Lancet,China is on track to see between 20,000 and 80,000 heatwave deaths a year. However, it is widely believed by researchers that these numbers vastly underestimate the real impact of extreme heat.Who is most at risk?Heatwaves can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children, people with disabilities, and pregnant women. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, or respiratory conditions such as asthma are also at elevated risk for suffering health complications due to heatwaves.Additionally, certain populations who spend time outdoors during the hottest parts — agricultural workers, day labourers, road workers and civil servants who work outdoors — are at particularly high risk.People who face housing insecurity, such as people who are homeless and people who live in informal settlements and slums, or who lack access to medical care or places where they can cool down (parks, beaches, cooling stations, air-conditioned spaces, etc.) are also at an increased risk.Urban AreasCities and densely populated areas face a unique challenge in respect to climate change and extreme heat because of their innate urban infrastructure. This phenomenon can be explained by the “urban heat island effect,” in which the construction materials typically used to build urban infrastructures absorb and retain heat more than natural material resources would.This, in conjunction with highly concentrated human activity, informal settlements, dense substructures and populations, and minimal open green spaces, all perpetuate extreme heat.What IFRC is doingBy 2025, the IFRC seeks to help 250 million people become better protected from heat in at least 150 cities and towns. IFRC seeks to do this by enabling climate-smart action to help global communities prepare, respond, and recover from climate disasters.IFRC’s Global Climate Resilience Platform aims to enhance the resilience and build the adaptation skills of 500 million people in the most climate-vulnerable countries. The IFRC’sEarly Warnings for All Initiative aims to provide early warning of extreme weather to everyone on earth by 2027 – this includes extreme heat. And the IFRC regularly raises the alarm through its network of 191 National Societies and via global advocacy and international events such asHeat Action Day on 2 June, 2024.

Read more
| Press release

Global Summit announces ‘sprint of action’ to tackle consequences of extreme heat

Summit was co-hosted by the IFRC and USAIDExtreme heat is a silent, yet formidable adversary that – without action – will kill thousands in coming years.But, as participants at the first-ever Global Summit on Extreme Heat heard, there is plenty that can be done. Countering the worst of extreme heat’s impact will take action from the local to global level. The Global Summit on Extreme Heat, held on Thursday, was co-hosted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It brought together political and civil society leaders, representatives of the private sector and those from the world’s most affected communities to discuss best practice and ideas.Besides the co-hosts Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General and Samantha Power, USAID Administrator, speakers included John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the [US] President for International Climate Policy, His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti and Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, among others.The keynote address was delivered by IFRC Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain. He said:“While hurricanes and floods often capture the headlines, extreme heat quietly exacts a toll on lives and livelihoods . . . In 2024 we declare extreme heat a priority . . . Let us be the architects of resilience, the enablers of hope.”Chapagain laid out four key actions that need to take place. The first is protecting the vulnerable, particularly those in urban areas and in marginalised communities. The second is investing in early warning systems and anticipatory actions. The third is forging partnerships across borders, and the fourth is putting local communities in the driving seat of change.Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID, said:“At a time when some have grown numb with increasingly familiar headlines about ‘hottest days on record’, we absolutely need to resolve never to get used to the scale of this problem, never to get used to the threat it poses to human life.” Following the summit, an online ‘Heat Action Hub’ has been established where people can share experiences and best practice when it comes to tackling extreme heat. The IFRC and USAID have jointly announced a 'sprint of action’ on extreme heat which will run up to a ‘Global Day of Action on Extreme Heat’ on June 2, 2024.A recording of the summit can be watched here.For interviews contact:IFRC [email protected] ThomasMobile: +41763676587

Read more
| Article

IFRC rolls out full climate action journey after successful National Society trials

The IFRC and its specialist reference centre on climate are today outlining the full seven-stage “climate action journey” that has been trialled by the National Societies of Malawi (blogandstorymap), Nigeria and Pakistan and encompasses the key concepts of climate-smart operations and locally led adaptation.It had earlier been formally presented at a training session in Naivasha, Kenya,attended by representatives of 20 African National Societies, as well as IFRC secretariat and Climate Centre specialists.The climate action journey starts with the key enabling factors of institutional buy-in through signing of the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, dedicated staff, seed funding, raised awareness, and the mobilization of youth and volunteersThis year, a range of additional National Societies will embark on the journey to scale up climate action and locally led adaptation: they will be able to increase their knowledge on changing climate-risks and impacts, strengthen capacities and partnerships, and access climate finance with solid proposals.The climate crisis has necessitated the empowering of communities to take charge of their own solutions and to secure for local actors and the most vulnerable communities the international climate finance that is currently falling short.This climate action journey seeks to prepare National Societies to increase adaptation driven by communities.Implementation, evaluationA guide to climate-smart programmes– the journey’s first three stages, centring on climate risk assessment, climate-smart screening and climate-smart planning – was published last year in bothlongandsummaryform; the former includes example of climate-smart programmes in various sectors from the Red Cross Red Crescent in (alphabetically) Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Vanuatu and Zambia.The last four stages of the journey – multi-year climate strategy, engagement with communities on adaptation, design of locally-led adaptation programmes, and implementation followed by evaluation – are detailed in the new publication,The importance of scaling up locally led adaptation, which will be expanded later this year.Climate-smart programmes and operations integrate climate and weather information, including long-term climate projections, “to ensure that, at a minimum, they do not place people at increased risk from new climate extremes and … empower communities to anticipate, absorb and adapt to climate shocks and long-term changes,” the journey text says.Locally led adaptation in all its forms, meanwhile, ensures “communities are empowered to lead sustainable and effective adaptation to climate change at the local level, increasing long-term resilience of communities to climate shocks”.Prisca Chisala, Malawi Red Cross Society Director of Programmes and its climate champion, says in her blog that the climate action journey enabled the National Society to “set our institutional vision and priorities on climate for the next few years”.She adds that the journey has been “a living process, able to be adapted whenever new experience and lessons arise. Experiences and thoughts by National Societies are critical to shape this journey into a tool that will be most helpful to the mission and work of Red Cross Red Crescent.“The National Society has to be at the centre of the journey, defining the direction it’s taking.”IFRC Under Secretary General Xavier Castellanos said today: ”This decade demands an unequivocal commitment to locally led adaptation as we confront the escalating climate crisis. Urgency compels us to strengthen local initiatives and empower local actors to spearhead climate resilience.”The climate action journey empowers numerous National Societies to lead the change, forge impactful partnerships, including with local authorities, and foster the emergence of climate-resilient communities.”Most National Societies are already effective in climate-related areas such as preparedness, anticipatory action, response and recovery, generating entry points for more extensive climate programming and integrating climate considerations into their work.But access to international climate finance that reaches down to the local level is another important component of them becoming climate champions for their countries.

Read more
| Article

Study: Climate change made the dangerous humid heatwave in West Africa 10 times more likely

Human-caused climate change made the humid heatwave in southern West Africa during February ten times more likely, according toa rapid analysis by an international team of leading climate scientists from theWorld Weather Attribution group.The study also found that if humans do not rapidly move away from fossil fuels, causing global warming to rise to 2°C above preindustrial levels, West Africa will experience similar heatwaves about once every two years. Developing heat action plans will help protect vulnerable people from dangerous heatwaves in West Africa, according to the researchers (which includes researches from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre).In February, West Africa was hit by an unusually intense humid heatwave with temperatures not normally seen until March or April. The most severe heat occured from February 11-15 with temperatures above 40°C.In Nigeria, doctors reported an increase in patients presenting for heat-related illness, people complained of poor sleep due to hot nights and the national meteorological agency issued several warnings about the heat.In Ghana, the national meteorological agency also warned people to prepare for dangerous temperatures. The heat occurred during the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Côte d'Ivoire.“Many people do not appreciate the dangers of heat – unlike storms, fires or droughts, heatwaves don’t leave an evident trail of destruction," said Maja Vahlberg, risk consultant at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, which contributed to the research. “However, heatwaves are ‘silent killers.’ They can be incredibly deadly for the elderly, people with existing health conditions and outdoor workers."“Humidity makes a massive difference to the human experience of heat. While the average air temperature across West Africa during mid-February was about 36°C, the humidity meant it would have felt like 50°C.“Countries across Africa, and the world, need to prepare for heat. Simple measures like awareness campaigns and warning systems can save thousands of lives during heatwaves.”Due to the hot and humid conditions, additional ‘cooling breaks’ were taken during the matches so players could rehydrate. February this year was the hottest February on record globally and the ninth consecutive month in a row that a hottest month record was broken.Climate change, caused by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, and deforestation, has made heatwaves more frequent, longer and hotter around the world. To quantify the effect of climate change on the hot and humid temperatures in West Africa, scientists analysed observed weather data and climate models to compare how the event has changed between today’s climate, with approximately 1.2°C of global warming, and the cooler pre-industrial climate, using peer-reviewed methods.For more information, please visit the World Weather Attribution webpage.

Read more
| Press release

IFRC launches an appeal as Mongolia faces its harshest winter in 50 years

Geneva/Kuala Lumpur/Ulaanbaatar, 18 March 2024: Mongolia is enduring its most severe winter in nearly half a century, grappling with the devastating effects of Dzud. Since November last year, extreme weather has now enveloped 76% of the nation in White Dzud and Iron Dzud conditions. These conditions cover grazing areas with deep snow and ice, critically limiting access to food for livestock.However, since February this year, the livestock mortality rate has surged, affecting about 75 percent of all herder households. With the current toll of lost livestock exceeding 4.7 million, official forecasts predict the situation to worsen.The livelihoods of herders, who depend on cattle, goats, and horses, are under severe threat.According to the assessment by the Emergency Operation Centre,this crisis is to be twice as severe as last year's Dzud. It predicts an impact greater than the significant 2010 Dzud event, which resulted in the loss of 10.3 million livestock and affected 28% of Mongolia's population. The crisis disproportionately affects herders with smaller herds, who face significant recovery challenges.Over 7,000 families now lack adequate food, and heavy snowfall has buried more than 1,000 herder households' gers (traditional homes) and shelters. To date, 2,257 herder families have lost over 70% of their livestock, with thousands more needing basic health services, fuel, and coal.Bolormaa Nordov, Secretary General of the Mongolian Red Cross Society (MRCS), said:“As one of the most active humanitarian actors in the country, the Mongolian Red Cross Society is working tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected people together with partners in this difficult time. We are grateful that the IFRC has always been with us, supporting our humanitarian efforts through the years. With this Emergency Appeal, we hope to minimize the impact of the Dzud emergency and support households with longer-term solutions for their lives and livelihoods.”Since November 2023, the MRCS has led response efforts, identifying urgent needs, such as food scarcity, healthcare access, and livelihood destruction. In addition, MRCS has allocated distributed vital supplies such as warm animal blankets, benefiting 5,100 herder families in urgent need.Olga Dzhumaeva, Head of the IFRC East Asia Delegation remarked:“We stand witness to the numerous struggles many herder households face from the loss of their precious livestock to the burdens of financial hardship, limited resources as well as immense pressures on people’s mental and physical health. Yet we see the unwavering hope and resilience of so many families as they battle winter's wrath with incredible strength. The ongoing livestock deaths, diminishing resources and deteriorating conditions of hundreds of thousands of people in Mongolia this winter is a stark reminder of the urgent need for assistance.”To support the people of Mongolia, the IFRC's Emergency Appeal seeks 4.5 million Swiss Francs to reach up to 10,000 Dzud-affected herder families with cash assistance, livelihood protection, health and psychosocial support, vocational training and community engagement.For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: [email protected] Beijing:Kexuan Tong: +86 13147812269In Kuala Lumpur:Afrhill Rances: +60 192713641In Geneva:Tommaso Della Longa: +41 797084367 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 763815006

Read more
| Emergency

Mongolia: Cold Wave ('Dzud')

Mongolia has been experiencing an unprecedented cold wave crisis, known as dzud, that has decimated entire herds of livestock, a critical source of food and income for many communities. This season’s weather has been recorded as the most severe in 49 years with 76 per cent of the country affected. Several additional key factors have worsened the dzud's impact, including numerous blizzards since November 2023 and extensive snow coverage across the country that has limited grazing opportunities for animals. The IFRC seeks CHF 4.5 million to support the Mongolia Red Cross Society in reaching 36,000 people with life saving services in this time of desperate need.

Read more
| Press release

Philippines: New data reveals Typhoon Rai wrecked 1.5 million houses

Kuala Lumpur/Manila, 25 January 2022 – New assessments reveal the full extent of Super Typhoon Rai’s devastation when it slammed into the Philippines a little over a month ago, with the storm destroying or damaging a staggering 1.5 million houses, more than any other typhoon in recent decades. Philippine Red Cross is ramping up its shelter support by transporting table saws, chainsaws and generators to areas hardest hit by the typhoon, including Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Siargao and Dinagat islands. The equipment is enabling Red Cross carpenters and trained volunteers to transform millions of fallen coconut trees into coco lumber to rebuild safer and stronger homes in the worst-affected areas. Carpenters are training local people in safer house construction, to provide vital wages for families who lost their livelihoods, including the agricultural and fishing equipment they relied upon to earn an income. Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said: “This is a much bigger disaster than the world realised a month ago. People who relied on farming, fishing and tourism can’t earn an income now. Millions of people don’t have a roof over their heads. "Red Cross is supporting 30,000 families with roofing materials like corrugated iron sheets and tarpaulins to protect them from the sun and rain, but we need greater international support to meet the enormous need for safer and stronger homes for millions of people. “The typhoon comes in the middle of a pandemic and a political campaign, which draw attention away from what truly is a catastrophe. This must not become forgotten tomorrow morning.” IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office Alberto Bocanegra said: “It’s a little over one month since Typhoon Rai slammed into the Philippines, yet millions of people still urgently need humanitarian support, including homes, clean water supplies and healthcare. “Assessment data reveals that this Super Typhoon has caused enormous devastation, destroying or damaging more homes than any storm in recent decades. “Filipinos are tough, and they are rebuilding, with support from Philippine Red Cross and other agencies, but more must be done to help people rebuild their shattered homes.” Philippine Red Cross has been on the ground since the super typhoon hit and has already reached 36,000 people with emergency shelter support, including toolkits, construction materials and tarpaulins to help people set up temporary shelters and start rebuilding. Emergency teams are providing kitchen sets, sleeping kits, pillows, mattresses, bedsheets, blankets and clothing. Longer-term support is required to enable families to rebuild their homes safely, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, living on isolated islands and in remote or hard to reach areas. IFRC co-leads the Shelter Cluster Philippines with the Government of the Philippines to assess the typhoon’s impact on households, coordinating and prioritising emergency shelter work with all partners. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing for CHF 20 million to support more than 400,000 people over 24 months. A top priority includes assisting people to rebuild safer shelters, including emergency housing materials and essential items, replacement of destroyed houses, and legal support on housing, land and property issues. For more information, contact: IFRC Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 845, [email protected] IFRC Philippine Delegation: Karina Coates, +61 (0) 404 086 006, [email protected]

Read more
| Press release

More than 139 million people hit by climate crisis and COVID-19, new IFRC analysis reveals

New York, Geneva, 16 September 2021 – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters have affected the lives of at least 139.2 million people and killed more than 17,242. This is the finding of a new analysis published today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, on the compound impacts of extreme-weather events and COVID-19. A further estimated 658.1 million vulnerable people have been exposed to extreme temperatures. Through new data and specific case studies, the report shows how people across the world are facing multiple crises and coping with overlapping vulnerabilities. The paper also highlights the need of addressing both crises simultaneously as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected livelihoods across the world and has made communities more vulnerable to climate risks. The IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, who today presented the new report at a press conference in New York, said: “The world is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis where the climate change and COVID-19 are pushing communities to their limits. In the lead up to COP26, we urge world leaders to take immediate action not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to address the existent and imminent humanitarian impacts of climate change”. The report comes a year after an initial analysisof the overlapping risks of extreme-weather events that have occurred during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic continues to wreak havoc, with direct health impacts for millions of people around the world, but also a massive indirect impact, in part due to the response measures implemented to contain the pandemic. Food insecurity caused by weather extremes has been aggravated by COVID-19. Health systems are pushed to their limits and the most vulnerable have been the most exposed to overlapping shocks. In Afghanistan, the impacts of the extreme drought are compounded by conflict and COVID-19. The drought has crippled agricultural food production and diminished livestock, leaving millions of people hungry and malnourished. The Afghan Red Crescent Society has ramped up relief, including food and cash assistance for people to buy food supplies, plant drought-resistant food crops and protect their livestock. In Honduras, responding to hurricanes Eta and Iota during the pandemic, also meant additional challenges. Thousands of people became homeless in temporary shelters. Anti-COVID-19 measures in those shelters required physical distancing and other protective measures, which limited capacity. In Kenya, the impacts of COVID-19 are colliding with floods in one year and droughts in the next, as well as a locust infestation. Over 2.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity in rural and urban areas. In the country and across East Africa, the COVID-19 restrictions slowed down the flood response and outreach to affected populations increasing their vulnerabilities. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the globe are not only responding to those overlapping crises but also helping communities to prepare and anticipate climate risks. In Bangladesh for instance, the Red Crescent Society has used IFRC’s designated funds for anticipatory action to disseminate flood related Early Warning Messages through loudspeakers in vulnerable areas so people can take the necessary measures or evacuate if necessary. Julie Arrighi, associate director at the RCRC Climate Center said: “Hazards do not need to become disasters. We can counter the trend of rising risks and save lives if we change how we anticipate crises, fund early action and risk reduction at the local level. Finally, we need to help communities become more resilient, especially in the most vulnerable contexts.” The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on climate risks. Governments need to commit to investing in community adaptation, anticipation systems and local actors. “The massive spending in COVID-19 recovery proves that governments can act fast and drastically in the face of global threats. It is time to turn words into action and devote the same energy to the climate crisis. Every day, we are witnessing the impact of human-made climate change. The climate crisis is here, and we need to act now,” Rocca said. Download the paper:The compound impact of extreme weather events and COVID-19 For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected] Marie Claudet, +33 786 89 50 89 , [email protected]

Read more
| Press release

Climate change: New report shows global response is failing people in greatest need

Geneva, 17 November 2020 – Global efforts to tackle climate change are currently failing to protect the people who are most at risk, according to new analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water shows that the countries most affected by climate-related disasters receive only a fraction of the funding that is available for climate change adaptation and thus struggle to protect people from the aggravating effects of climate change. IFRC's Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks. “However, our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this. There is a clear disconnection between where the climate risk is greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes. This disconnection could very well cost lives.” The failure to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change is especially alarming given the steady increase in the number of climate and weather-related disasters. According to the World Disasters Report, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters per decade has increased nearly 35 per cent since the 1990s. Over the past decade, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms, and heatwaves. Together, these disasters killed more than 410,000 people and affected a staggering 1.7 billion people. The World Disasters Report also argues that the massive stimulus packages that are currently being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity to address and reduce climate vulnerability. A recovery that protects people and the planet would not only help to reduce today’s risks but would also make communities safer and more resilient to future disasters. Smart financing – with a focus on early warning and anticipatory action to reduce risks and prevent disasters before they happen – and risk reduction measures would both play a major role in protecting the most exposed communities. Mr Chapagain said: “Climate adaptation work can’t take a back seat while the world is preoccupied with the pandemic: the two crises have to be tackled together. “These disasters are already on the doorstep in every country around the world. We must significantly scale up investment in climate smart actions that strengthens risk reduction and preparedness, alongside climate-smart laws and policies. “With challenges like these, international solidarity is not only a moral responsibility, but also the smart thing to do. Investing in resilience in the most vulnerable places is more cost-effective than to accept continued increases in the cost of humanitarian response, and contributes to a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for everyone." The World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water can be downloaded at https://www.ifrc.org/document/world-disasters-report-2020

Read more
| Press release

Red Cross calls on people to check on neighbours and loved ones during dangerous heatwave

Budapest/Geneva, 29 July 2020 – As temperatures soar across Europe, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the public to check on neighbours and loved ones who might struggle to cope with the searing heat. According to European meteorological offices, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Romania can expect temperatures in the mid to high 30s during the week., with Paris and Madrid forecast to reach around 40°C on Friday. To prevent loss of life, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is urging people to check in on their vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends while following COVID-19 safety measures. IFRC’s acting health coordinator for Europe, Dr Aneta Trgachevska, said: “Some older people are unable to spend on things like air conditioning. They may be socially isolated. When coupled with thermoregulation problems, reduced water intake and physical ability and chronic diseases, there could potentially be a large at-risk group.” IFRC is also concerned about the potential compounding impact of COVID-19 during this period of soaring temperatures, said Dr Trgachevska: “Managing the impact of heat and COVID-19 at the same time poses a challenge to frontline workers, health care systems and local communities. The spread of COVID-19 will not stop in summer. On the contrary, it increases the risk of extreme heat by compromising our usual coping strategies.” People who would usually visit public places like parks, libraries and shopping malls to find refuge from the heat may be reluctant to leave their homes due to fear of infection. For the same reason, some may be afraid to seek medical care for heat stroke. “While self-isolation is advisable for vulnerable people during a pandemic, during a heatwave it could be life-threatening, especially for people living alone without home cooling systems. To make sure our loved ones and neighbours stay safe, we should check on them daily via phone or video calls. If you need to physically help someone, make sure to follow hygiene rules, such as wearing a mask and washing your hands upon entering someone’s home,” explains Dr. Trgachevska. People who are most vulnerable to heat stress are also those most at risk of COVID-19, including people older than 65, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, prisoners and marginalized groups such as homeless people and migrants. Due to the pandemic, health workers and first responders are also more prone to heat stress as they need to wear personal protective equipment. Across Europe, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff are on high alert to support communities during summer. The Austrian Red Cross operates cooling centres in malls. It also has a mobile app to help people stay safe with a real time heat map and list of cool public places. In Spain, Red Cross volunteers are helping people with disabilities to enjoy a dip in the sea. In Monaco, volunteers are regularly checking in on isolated older people via daily phone calls or physically distanced home visits, and in the Netherlands, they go door-to-door to distribute life-saving information. In several other countries, including Italy and the UK, Red Cross teams are reaching out to vulnerable groups to inform them on how to stay protected from both the heat and COVID-19. Heatwaves can have a catastrophic human toll. In 2003 an estimated 70,000 people died during a record-breaking heatwave in Europe. Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of heatwaves globally. Some tips to stay cool and safe: Close drapes and shutters during the hottest parts of the day to reduce direct sun exposure When it’s cooler outside, open windows on opposite sides of the building to create a cross-breeze Avoid cooking food indoors during the hottest hours of the day Unplug large electronic devices that produce heat Use an electric fan and set a bowl of cold water or ice in front to create a cold breeze Wear lightweight, light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes Avoid exercise and strenuous activities during the hottest hours of the day Drink plenty of cool water, avoid alcohol and caffeine Some medicines may reduce tolerance to heat. Get medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications. Stay connected, listen to the weather forecast and adapt your plans if necessary Follow social distancing guidance when using shared outdoor spaces such as parks and beaches Ask for medical help in case of signs of heat-related illness. Download the heatwave guide developed by the Red Cross Red Crescent climate centre

Read more
| Press release

MEDIA ADVISORY: Europe heatwave - Red Cross experts available

Geneva, 22 July 2019 – Red Cross climate experts are available to discuss the potential humanitarian impact of this week’s European heatwave, as well as the simple and affordable steps that can be taken to protect lives. Temperatures are expected to climb to record levels over the coming days, placing huge pressure on health and social welfare systems across the continent, and potentially threatening the lives and well-being of vulnerable people. Red Cross experts can highlight some of the concrete measures that individuals and authorities can take to reduce the potential humanitarian impact of the heatwave. They can also discuss the clear links between climate change and heatwaves and share findings from the Red Cross’ recently released Heatwave Guide for Cities. Available experts include: In New York: Julie Arrighi, Red Cross climate expert and one of the authors of the Heatwave Guide for Cities. In Geneva: Tessa Kelly, Climate Change Coordinator, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Read more
| Press release

Heatwaves: urgent action needed to tackle climate change’s “silent killer”

New York, 16 July 2019 – A new resource launched today in New York will help cities prepare for heatwaves – extreme weather events that are among the world’s deadliest types of natural hazard. Speaking at UN headquarters in New York, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, said: “Heatwaves are one of the deadliest natural hazards facing humanity, and the threat they pose will only become more serious and more widespread as the climate crisis continues. “However, the good news is that heatwaves are also predictable and preventable. The actions that authorities can take to save lives and significantly reduce suffering are simple and affordable.” The new Heatwave Guide for Cities from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre offers urban planners and city authorities an authoritative summary of the actions they can take to reduce the danger of heatwaves, which are defined as a period of time when temperatures, or temperature in combination with other factors, are unusually high and hazardous to human health and well-being. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years in the global temperature record have occurred since 2001. Several serious heatwaves have killed tens of thousands of people worldwide during this period, including the 2015 heatwave in India that killed around 2,500 people, and the 2003 heatwave across Europe that lead to more than 70,000 deaths. The people at greatest risk of heatwaves tend to be those with pre-existing vulnerabilities, including elderly people, very young children, pregnant women, those with medical conditions, and people who are socially isolated. “Heatwaves are silent killers because they take the lives of people who are already vulnerable,” said Rocca. “It’s vital that everyone knows how to prepare for them and limit their impact.” Around 5 billion people live in regions where extreme heat can be predicted days or weeks in advance. Examples of the actions that cities can take include establishing systems to warn people ahead of anticipated periods of extreme heat; strengthening health systems to reduce the risk of them being overwhelmed during a heat crisis; conducting community awareness campaigns; establishing cooling centres/telephone helplines for vulnerable people in need of help, treatment and support; and “greening” cities and urban centres, for example by planting trees, protecting open green spaces, and introducing car-free zones. The influence of climate change on heat extremes was evident again in Europe in June when cities across the west of the continent recorded record temperatures – an event that scientists believe was made at least five times more likely by climate change. Note to editors The Heatwave Guide for Cities has been produced by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre in collaboration with more than 25 partner institutions including ICLEI, Arizona State University, Met Office, John Hopkins University, USAID, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization Joint Office for Climate and Health, Thomson Reuters Foundation and the cities of Cape Town, Kampala, Entebbe, Ekurhuleni and Phoenix. It can be downloaded here.

Read more
| Press release

Red Cross urges public to check on neighbours as Europe braces for heatwave

Budapest/Geneva, 25 June 2019 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on people to check on vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends as Western Europe readies itself for possible record high temperatures. According to European meteorological offices, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary and Switzerland can expect temperatures in the mid to high-30s during the week, with temperatures potentially climbing to 40°C in Paris on Thursday (27 June). IFRC’s Europe Region health coordinator Dr Davron Mukhamadiev said: “The coming days will be challenging for a lot of people, but especially older people, young children, and people with underlying illnesses or limited mobility. “Our message this week is simple: look after yourself, your family and your neighbours. A phone call or a knock on the door could save a life.” Across Western Europe, Red Cross staff and volunteers are on high alert. In France, volunteers are patrolling the streets, providing water and hygiene kits and visiting isolated and older people in their homes. “If necessary, the emergency operations centre at our headquarters can be opened to coordinate the response to this emergency,” said French Red Cross spokesperson Alain Rissetto. In Spain, 50 staff in the Red Cross operations centre are currently calling vulnerable and older people to check they are safe and to give advice on how to cope with the heat. And in Belgium volunteers are distributing water and checking on older community members. Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of heat extremes globally, underscoring the urgent need to manage heatwave risks effectively and to prevent avoidable strain being put on already stretched health care services. The risks are particularly high in cities, where the impacts can be most severe. Heatwaves can have a catastrophic human toll. In 2003, for example, an estimated 70,000 people died during a record-breaking heatwave in Europe. Next month, IFRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre will launch new guidelines designed to help cities better support their vulnerable residents during heatwaves.

Read more
| Press release

Pakistan: “Alarmingly high” rates of disease and malnutrition in drought-affected areas

Islamabad/Geneva, 1 March 2019 – Women and children affected by one of the worst droughts in Pakistan’s recent history are now also at risk from disease and malnutrition, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.Communities in the worst-affected areas of the southern Sindh and Balochistan provinces have so little access to nutritional food and safe water that many are forced to drink saline or get water from contaminated sites. As a result, many people – particularly children, and women who are pregnant or lactating – are suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and fever, which is leading to widespread malnutrition. Women and children are at the highest risk, as men are able to work in towns where there is a wider choice of foods and access to clean drinking water.IFRC’s head of country office Dr Thomas Gurtner described the rates of malnutrition and disease as “alarmingly high” and said the organisation was ramping up its support to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society volunteers and staff on the ground.“IFRC has released 315,000 Swiss francs of emergency funds to enable the Pakistan Red Crescent to meet the needs 15,000 of the most vulnerable people threatened by disease and drought,” he said.“This will allow the Red Crescent to improve access to safe drinking water through solar boreholes, storage facilities, improved water treatment and other services, while the most vulnerable people receive cash transfers that give them full control of providing for their families.”An estimated five million people are affected by the drought, which was caused by unseasonably high temperatures and below average monsoonal rainfall, both of which are influenced by El Niño. The water table has dropped in most valleys and low-lying areas, and food production in the affected areas has dropped by 34 per cent. The Pakistan Meteorological Department forecasts that the situation will continue to deteriorate over the coming four years, in part due to climate change.

Read more
| Article

Forecast-based Financing: Early Action Protocol in place to protect Peru’s alpaca herders

The Red Cross and Red Crescent’s first ever Early Action Protocol funded by IFRC’sForecast-based Action by the DREF – which will useforecast-based financingto support herder families in the high Andes region of Peru – is now in place and ready for activation. The protocol is designed to help herder families to protect their lives and livelihoods during periods of extreme cold weather. The early action will be activated based on a five-day climate forecast, which will give the Peruvian Red Cross a period of four days to act before the start of an extreme cold wave. This EAP was developed by the Peruvian Red Cross with support from the German Red Cross, the German Foreign Office, IFRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and is designed to shift humanitarian action from response to anticipation – a shift that could save lives and dramatically reduce costs compared to traditional emergency relief.

Read more
| Press release

IPCC report: Climate change already making humanitarian work harder, less predictable, more complex, says IFRC

Geneva, 8 October 2018 –Climate change is already making emergency response efforts around the world more difficult, more unpredictable and more complex, according to the world’s largest humanitarian network. This warning from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) coincides with the launch of a UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report that sets out the predicted impacts of both a 1.5°C and a 2.0°C rise in the global average temperature by 2099. IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “More than half of our operations are now in direct response to weather-related events, and many others are compounded by climate shocks and stresses. If this is the situation now, then it is difficult to comprehend the scale of crises confronting vulnerable communities in a world that is 1.5°C or 2.0°C hotter.” In 2017, IFRC and the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network responded to over 110 emergencies, reaching more than 8 million people. More than half of these were in response to weather-related events. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are also bearing witness to rising climate displacement. Weather-related events displaced 23.5 million people in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Mr Rocca said: “In a 1.5°C-warmer world, more extreme-weather events will affect everyone. But it will be especially cruel for communities that are already struggling to survive because of conflict, insecurity or poverty. “We are already working with some of these communities to help them anticipate and adapt to what might be to come. These efforts need to increase significantly. A higher proportion of global climate finance needs to be dedicated to helping these communities adapt to changing risks. Currently, not event 10 per cent of funding does this.” Dr Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist and director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre based in The Hague, added: “Climate remains at the centre of the international agenda. In 2018, we have seen lethal heatwaves and wildfires across the Northern Hemisphere, including in unexpected places like eastern Canada, Japan and Sweden. A rapid analysis in July by an international group of climate scientists showed that in some European locations climate change made the heatwave at least twice as likely.” Today’s IPCC report sets the scene for COP 24 which opens in Katowice, Poland on 3 December. Mr Rocca said: “COP 24 must deliver a rigorous rule book for how to implement the Paris Agreement. No one can afford half measures; our future existence depends upon it. “IFRC welcomes this IPCC report. We hope this leads to action. Millions of lives – and billions of dollars of disaster response – are at stake.”

Read more