Early warning

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Article

Flooding in Nigeria: ‘When the floods come again, we will be better prepared.’

In the Ivrogbo-iri community in Nigeria’s Delta State, Blessing Emeldi lived happily with her children, farming and selling cassava, yams and bananas. That was until devastating floods in 2022 washed away her farm and all her precious crops.“It was a shock, and I felt helpless,” says Blessing, recounting how the floods robbed her of her only source of livelihood. “I struggled to pay my children’s school fees.”Many parts of Delta Stateare prone to seasonal flooding, butthe floods in 2022 were particularly bad and caused widespread devastation. With IFRC support through an anticipatory allocation from the IFRC-DREF fund, followed by an emergency appeal, theNigerian Red Cross Society and its partners provided a wide range of assistance, including multi-purpose cash grants.People such as Blessing could use those cash grants to meet a variety of needs."The cash helped me buy food and basic needs, and I was able to start a firewood business to pay my children’s school fees. Things have gotten better."The cash grants were just a part of the Nigerian Red Cross response. They also provided help with shelter, health services, protection of people in vulnerable situations, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene support. The goal is to both address urgent needs and promote resilience among those most impacted by the inundations.Accessible Clean WaterThe Nigerian Red Cross also helped establish new water points so people in the communities could access clean, safe water. This enabled girls, who are usually responsible for collecting water for their families, to focus on their school.Juliet and Constance Elorghor are 14 and 9-year-old sisters recount the difficulties they faced before the water points were built."Before, we carried basins for very long distances to the river or fetched water from a communal well,” Juliet recalls, as her sister, Constance, nods in agreement.“It was hard, and I often went to school late or missed school, because water was scarce, and the queues were long. We also often fell sick because the water was dirty."“It was worse during the floods because our well was filled with dirty water and our river too. We faced water scarcity, and it was a hard time,” she continues."Now, with the water points close to my house, we don't go to school late anymore, and we don't fall sick because the water is clean. The Red Cross even gave us jerry cans and buckets with lids that make fetching and storing water better."Rebuilding strongerThe Nigerian Red Cross also restored homes destroyed by the floods, which helped families recover and prepare them for the future.In Araya community, Gladys Ajiri, a mother of six whose home was destroyed by the floods, spoke about how hard it was for them to be displaced."My previous house was made of mud and was easily washed away by the floods. We had nowhere to go and suffered greatly, living on the good will from neighbors," Gladys recalls. "The Red Cross helped build this beautiful concrete house for us. My children are safe now, and I am grateful for this kindness."Josephine Onogomohor and Miriam Abide are widows whose homes were also destroyed by the floods and rebuilt by the Nigerian Red Cross. Also receiving multi-purpose cash assistance, Miriam, who lost all her shop items to the floods, used it to restart her business in front of her newly rebuilt home."I was given money in this card, and my destroyed house was rebuilt. Now I have started selling my small provisions again to keep me going. This kind of help, I have never seen before. There was no one to help me, but the Red Cross came to my aid. I am forever grateful," Miriam said. "When the floods come again, we are better prepared."

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Press release

Red Cross swings into action immediately after Japan earthquake

Tokyo/Beijing/Geneva, 3 January 2024 - Responding to a devastating magnitude 7.6 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Ishikawa Prefecture, the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) has mobilized swiftly. The events of New Year’s Day have caused extensive damage, disrupting power, water supplies, communications, and transportation. Tragically, at least sixty-two lives have been lost, with many more injured. In the immediate aftermath, JRCS's nationwide network was activated, with staff from the Tokyo headquarters rapidly deployed for assessment and coordination. Local chapters, supported by Red Cross hospitals and Blood Centres, initiated response actions. Echoing the spirit of solidarity, neighboring JRCS branches have dispatched additional relief teams. Nobuaki Sato, Deputy Director General of the International Department of the JRCS, said: “The earthquake shook the country to its maximum intensity and triggered the highest tsunami alert, and people could not help but be reminded of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 13 years ago. We did not encounter a major tsunami, but there is a long way to go to promote the more rapid evacuation of people, search and rescue for missing people, support for evacuees and their recovery. The Japanese Red Cross Society will stay close to the people affected and provide support.” The JRCS’s robust disaster preparedness, marked by a well-orchestrated deployment of resources and personnel, has been crucial in this rapid response. This readiness is vital in a country like Japan, frequently confronted with seismic activities. Alexander Matheou, Regional Director for Asia Pacific of the IFRC, remarked: “We are with the Japanese Red Cross Society during these trying times, especially those displaced and traumatized by the earthquake. Although the Asia-Pacific Region is prone to frequent disasters, it has also proven itself to be leading the way in life-saving prevention, preparedness, resilience, and humanitarian innovation, sending us a strong message about the urgent need to strengthen humanitarian responses to disasters and crises. We thank our teams on the ground for the swift response, and we acknowledge that the impact will be psychological not just physical. The IFRC stands ready to support.” The IFRC, through its East Asia Delegation, remains closely engaged with the JRCS, ensuring a coordinated approach in addressing both the immediate and future challenges posed by this disaster. More information: To request an interview, please contact:[email protected]  In Kaula Lumpur: Afrhill Rances: +60 19 271 3641 In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa: +41 79 708 43 67 Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06

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Article

IFRC's Global Climate Resilience Platform channels CHF 100 million for locally-led climate action in 33 countries in 2023

The IFRC launched its Global Climate Resilience Platform (GCRP) last year at COP27 with the objective of raising CHF 1 billion in next five years to boost locally-led climate action. In its first year, the Platform has mobilized CHF 100 million, providing programming on three focus areas – anticipatory action and early warning, nature-based solutions and shock- responsive social protection – in 33 of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries. Increased investments in anticipatory action and early warning, nature-based solutions and shock-responsive social protection have the potential for transformational change if coupled with unprecedented levels of investment at the local level. Anticipatory action and early action means taking steps to protect peoplebeforea crisis hits, based on forecasts or predictions, to prevent or reduce potential disaster impacts.These types of actions vary from evacuation plans, cash distribution or reinforcement of homes. Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage or restore ecosystems — such as forests, mangroves, coral reefs or urban green spaces — in ways that addresses societal challenges, such as disaster risk, climate change or food security. The role of shock-responsive social protection or safety nets is to reduce vulnerability to poverty and reliance on negative coping strategies. Such measures include adaptative livelihoods, health and social support and inclusive disaster preparedness and response. “This is exactly the kind of solidarity we need to have with communities and organizations like National Societies that locally rooted, in their efforts to prevent and reduce risks so everyone has the chance to thrive, instead of only working to recover from great losses,” said IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, who announced additional funding pledge while at COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, UAE today. “Just as we must mobilize on the global level to address the causes of climate change, we must also help communities adapt,” he continued. “The Global Climate Resilience Platform offers a great opportunity to do something very concrete and positive that will save lives, livelihoods and even entire communities from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.” Approach adapted to local threats While the platforms prioritizes early action, nature-based solutions and shock-responsive social protection, the activities will vary depending on the particular climate risks communities face. In some cases, early action means planned evacuations or reinforcing homes. In others, it may mean distributing health protection kits, or in the case of heatwaves, setting up mobile cooling centres. In the Americas, where climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather related events – from tropical storms to mudslides, floods and wildfires – the GCRP helps National Societies develop or improve solutions that address those particular risks. In drought-impacted countries in eastern Africa, the GCRP supports National Societies working to help communities adapt through the development integrated water systems and participate in multi-partner initiatives such as The Water at the Heart of Climate Action programme. Across the globe, in countries including Kenya and Nepal, shock responsive social protection has meant including anticipatory work into the national government’s social protection system. This means more people get access to timely information and support. National Societies that participate will integrate these approaches into their institutional planning, priorities and funding strategies. The GCRP will back up these efforts by reinforcing National Society technical expertise through training and operational support. The countries benefitting from GCRP funding thus far include : Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somali, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda Americas: Colombia, Dominican Republic and Jamaica Asia-Pacific: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam MENA: Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Yemen. With the exception of Rwanda, all the participating countries are considered the 100 most climate vulnerable countries according to ND-GAIN Index, an initiative by the University of Notre Dame, in the United States, aimed at helping people understand ways communities are adapting to climate change. For more information,read our technical explainer. You can also visit ourearly action pageand theAnticipation Hub- our anticipatory action platform hosted by the German Red Cross.

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Article

Climate crises Q&A: Why have some recent storms gained so much strength, so quickly?

An interview with Juan Bazo, climate scientist with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, by Susana Arroyo Barrantes, IFRC Americas Regional Communications ManagerSusana Arroyo:In October 2023, Hurricane Otis caused a lot of astonishment after it went from a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, it was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded on the Mexican Pacific coast. Did El Niño have something to do with the rapid intensification of Otis?Juan Bazos: It was a combination of warm oceans, along with El Niño. In addition, the entire Pacific coastline of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and the coasts of Costa Rica, have been very warm. This has allowed the formation of cyclones and storms. Some of these storms have even passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific.Regarding the intensification, this has happened before, Hurricane Patricia in 2015, also had this very rapid intensification in less than 12 hours off the Pacific coast of Mexico, but the impact was not in a very populated area.For a scientific point of view, it is increasingly difficult to forecast this type of intensification. Most, if not all, of the models failed in the short-term forecast, which is one of the most reliable forecasts we have in meteorology. This is due to several factors: the rapid intensification, very local atmospheric conditions, and the temperature of the ocean water in this part of the Mexican coast.Increasingly, intensification is not only occurring in the Pacific and Atlantic of our region, but also in the Indian Ocean. In The Philippines, this has happened many times. That is a challenge, both for the climate services and for the humanitarian response.SA: One thing we depend on to make life-saving decisions is rigorous, accurate, effective forecasts. If we are moving towards an era of greater uncertainty, then we must also look at how we anticipate on other fronts. What can we expect for this year?JB: In the following months, we would normally be entering a neutral period and quickly passing to La Niña phenomenon. And this will also bring its consequences, changing the whole panorama. It could be that this year we will have to prepare for a hurricane season that may be higher than normal. So, we must keep monitoring, considering the climate crisis and the Atlantic Ocean that is still very warm.SA: The IFRC has tried to make more alliances with meteorological institutions dedicated to researching, monitoring, and understanding the climate. Is that one of the paths to the future, to strengthen this alliance? JB: Increasingly, the IFRC has scientific technical entities as its main allies, to make reliable decisions, and I think that is the way we must continue to work. Scientific information will bring us information for our programs and operations at different time scales, in the short, medium, and long term.We must not ignore climate projections but plan how we can adapt knowing that the climate is going to change. This is part of our work, from our policies to our interventions and I think the Red Cross and Red Crescent network does this very well. However, we need to empower ourselves more, get closer to the technical scientific entities, the academia, which are our allies. They can bring us much more information — much richer, much more localized. And this is the next step we must take.SA: Many changes are also coming in the field of meteorology. Now, using artificial intelligence (AI) and increasingly large amounts of data, there will be changes and likely improvements in forecasting. Could we therefore get more reliable forecasts in terms of rapid intensification?JB: Artificial Intelligence opens a lot of room for innovation. Meteorology is not 100 per cent accurate. There is always that degree of uncertainty and there are going to be failures. It is part of our planet's atmospheric chaos, of its complexity and the many variables that play a role in weather forecasting. In that sense, AI will be a great added value for the improvement of forecasts.This brings to the table the need for 1) greater investment in forecast-based early action systems, 2) early warning systems that are more agile, flexible, and capable of informing and mobilizing the population in record time, and 3) humanitarian aid that is pre-positioned to respond to disasters as they occur.IFRC is a lead in the Early Warnings For All Initiative, which will provide early warnings to people across the globe by 2027. Learn more.

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Article

Kazakhstan: ‘Early action’ helps people stay warm through deadly cold snaps

In Kazakhstan, winter weather can be extremely harsh, with temperatures plummeting to -40 C at night. This presents a challenge for all people, but especially for some of the most vulnerable groups: homeless, lonely older people, people with disabilities and single parent households."My husband and our two sons have died and my relatives are living far away, therefore now I am all alone in this world,” one 81-year-old woman told a Red Crescent team. “I’m grateful to the Red Crescent volunteers for bringing me soup, buns and pilaf – I’ll eat it with pleasure and save some for tomorrow.”Drivers and passengers who get stuck on the road may also find themselves in a difficult situation.Whenever extreme cold hits, the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan is ready to support people in need thanks to a system the National Society developed that allows it to mobilise as soon as a severe cold wave is predicted.Getting ahead of the cold wavesThrough the activation of the Simplified Early Action Protocol for Cold Waves, the Red Crescent is receiving CHF 68,000 from the IFRC's Disaster Response Emergency Fund (IFRC-DREF). They money is used to fund anticipatory actions supporting 2,000 people in the worst-affected regions and reach a further 80,000 with awareness-raising activities.The protocol was triggered by a cold wave on 11 December, when the national weather forecast service predicted temperatures to go below -40 degrees in the north of Kazakhstan."This simplified early action protocol allows us to support people surviving extreme cold in the most difficult conditions, and to do it quickly," said Lena Kistaubayeva, director of the Emergency Situations Department at the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan."Distributing warm clothes from prepositioned stocks and arranging hot meals for homeless people and older people living alone are the key activities at the moment,” she added. “We keep monitoring weather forecasts, so as to respond in a timely manner and address further needs in this and other target regions of the country, through our local branches." Hot meals, clothes and blanketsThroughout the winter, Red Crescent teams have been helping homeless people reach warm shelters and provide them with hot meals and basic items such as winter clothes, shoes and blankets. Volunteers are also providing First Aid at warm-up shelters."Since I was a child, I have been spending most of my time on the street and taking care of myself,” said a 54-year-old homeless man. “I ended up with bad company and spent ten years in prison, but at least I had food and a bed there. Now I’m alone again and I don’t know where to go. Volunteers will take me to an accommodation centre and helpe me with the registration.”IFRC is a lead in the Early Warnings For All Initiative, which will provide early warnings to people across the globe by 2027. Learn more.

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Article

IFRC at COP 28: The impacts are here, the time to act is now

Whether it’s the increasing power of storms, the proliferation of wildfires, worsening heatwaves and droughts – or the displacement of entire communities due to all the above — the impacts of climate change have been with us for some time. This is why the IFRC is once again heading to the Global Climate Summit, COP28, in the United Arab Emirates, with an urgent message: there’s no more time to waste. The time to act is now and the action must be bold. Just as world leaders must agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent even worse humanitarian impacts, they must vastly scale-up adaptation action at the local level in order to reach the most at-risk and impacted people, according to the IFRC. People like Martha Makaniko, a farmer from Chiwalo village in the town Mulanje in Malawi. Earlier this year, Makaniko lost her home and all her crops due to unexpected flash flooding caused by Cyclone Freddy. After that, the normal rainfalls failed to come and now the El Nino phenomenon threatens to make the expected upcoming lean season even leaner. "Year after year, it’s been getting harder to get good yields from farming and get a good earning,” says Makaniko. “We no longer rely on regular weather patterns. I used to get eight bags of maize from my field. Now I would be lucky to get two." This kind of story is increasingly common in communities where the IFRC network is rooted. They are also the reason why the IFRC has been scaling up its own efforts to work with local communities and Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies to alleviate immediate suffering — providing cash, food, water, hygiene and health support — while also preventing and reducing risks in the future. This is also why the IFRC is urging world leaders assembling for the COP 28 Climate Summit to take the following urgent steps: • prioritize local action • increase financing to help communities adapt • scale-up early action and measures that help communities anticipate risks • strengthen climate resilient health systems and to help people avert, minimize and address loss and damage due to climate-related events. Worse before it gets better Much more investment in all these areas is critical to help communities cope as the situation is likely to worsen before it gets better. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that climate change is already contributing to an increasing number of humanitarian crises (with average global temperature at 1.15°C above 1850-1900 average). And now there is a very real threat that temperatures will rise even further. Under current policies the world is on track for 2.8°C global warming by 2050, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. In the short term, this year’s El Niño phenomenon is expected to compound the impact with human-induced climate change, pushing global temperatures into uncharted territory, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Reasons for hope There are some reasons for hope however. If urgent steps are taken, there is a chance we can slow or stop further temperature increases while also making communities far less susceptible to climate-related shocks. Across the IFRC network, which includes 191 National Societies, there are numerous examples of communities working with the IFRC and others to make themselves more resilient so they can avoid the food insecurity, health risks and economic impacts of climate related disasters. In Jamaica, for example, the Red Cross worked with a school for deaf students on a climate-smart project to reinforce their self-sufficient campus farm with a solar-powered irrigation system. In Somalia, the IFRC and the Somalia Red Crescent worked with the village of Cuun to reestablish small farms with the help of a new borehole for clean water and a pumping system to help them cope with multiple years of drought. “We struggled to access clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and livelihood support,” says one of the community leaders, Yasiin Maxamed Jamac. “This had a negative impact on our health and well-being, and it made it difficult for us to grow crops, fruit, vegetables and raise livestock." Now over 100 households have their own small farms — 100 metres by 100 metres — where they cultivate a variety of fruits, vegetables, and crops.

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Article

Panama: Communities are the heart of climate-crisis resilience

In the last fifty years, Panama has experienced an increase in extreme weather events, such as intense and prolonged rains, windstorms, floods, droughts, forest fires, landslides, tropical cyclones and the effects of El Niño and La Niña phenomena.Right now, Panama is facing a major drought. But in recent years there have also been severe storms — such as hurricanes Eta and Iota. Those storms flooded most of Soloy, an area that is part of the Ngäbe indigenous territory, and the Tierras Altas district in Chiriquí.This part of northwestern Panama is also one of the main agricultural areas in the country, and one of the most affected by these hurricanes, which have prompted the community to prepare for possible similar events.Since then, disaster risk management has become a fundamental task, driven by the active participation of indigenous community leaders such as Dalia, Eusebio and Wilfredo from Soloy, and the commitment of neighbours such as Doña María, who lives in Las Nubes, in Tierras Altas. These efforts enjoy the full support of local actors and in particular, the Panamanian Red Cross.At the COP Global Summit on climate change going on this week, the IFRC continues to emphasize that communities must be at the center of disaster and climate crisis preparedness. Here are the three main reasons why:1. It’s going to happen again: Preparing for recurrent disasters"One of the situations that occur during the winter season are the flooding of rivers, because we have a large number of rivers in the community; and also landslides, which leave houses and roads affected", says Eusebio Bejarano, a leader in the community of Soloy.That is why the Panamanian Red Cross worked alongside the community as it prepared an assessment and established Community Response Brigades. In addition, they have begun using something called the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool, which helps to quickly identify environmental concerns before designing longer-term emergency or recovery interventions."It is an environmental assessment tool that has allowed us to understand the context of the activities carried out by the community and, above all, how we can work to protect the livelihoods of this community, which is rural and depends heavily on subsistence agriculture", explains Daniel González, head of risk management for the Panamanian Red Cross.At the family and individual level, actions can also be taken to protect the homes of people like Doña María, who lives near the river bank and has worked on a family evacuation plan. She is now prepared to act in case of flooding.2. It’s local people who are first to respond: Strengthening community response capacitiesPart of the preparedness process requires communities to strengthen their learning, technical and leadership capacities to better adapt to the crisis situations. This is critical because community organizations are the first to respond when disasters occur and often have access to areas where international actors do not.The presence of these community groups before, during and after crises means they can more readily respond while also fostering long-term preparedness and recovery."We must prepare ourselves in First Aid, the authorities must be trained, the teaching staff and the community,” says Dalia, the leader of the Psychosocial Support Brigade in Soloy. “The Red Cross has brought different types of training, in which young people have participated, but we need more communities and more young people to get involved."The implementation of educational projects, such as blue schools, which incorporate learning about water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), recycling and school gardens, are a sample of the actions that the communities are carrying out with the support of the Panamanian Red Cross."We have trained the Fire Fighting Brigade, the First Aid Brigade; but we have also worked on strengthening resilience in three schools in Alto Bonito, Boca de Remedio and Soloy,” says Daniel González, head of risk management of the Panamanian Red Cross. “In addition, we have provided them with first aid kits and rigid boards, along with training for teachers and the educational community."3. Communities know what’s at stake: Strengthening community resilienceCommunities are the heart of climate-crisis preparedness because they know what’s at stake — their environment and the survival of their way of life. In the face of the climate crisis and increasingly uncertain scenarios, this is why the Red Cross works with communities to strengthen local resilience to climate-related shocks."We have worked hand-in-hand with the Red Cross, organizing and preparing for situations that have been occurring with the climate crisis, focusing a lot on the community, working with leadership, working with authorities and visiting communities", says Eusebio Bejarano.Community resilience enables communities to prepare for disasters and create a safe, healthy and prosperous future. To do this, communities must record information on all relevant hazards and their causes, health threats, hazards, conflict, violence, climate crisis, environmental degradation. Only then will they be able to set priorities together and decide how best to address them.Another leader from Soloy, Wilfredo highlights the importance of promoting empathy and collective care and stresses the importance of caring for nature. He emphasizes that the mountains and rivers are fundamental for community life. The Ngäbe indigenous population has also brought to the table the need to take cultural elements such as language into account when planning preparedness actions.A resilient community is one that is experienced, healthy and able to meet its basic needs. It’s a community that has economic opportunities, well-maintained and accessible infrastructure and services, and can manage its natural assets in harmony with the environment. And it’s a community that can focus on moving forward, and on things that bring joy and meaning, rather than continually recovering from the sudden shocks of the climate crisis.Disaster preparedness and community resilience actions are also being carried out in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador, thanks to the Programmatic Partnership between the IFRC network and the European Union, which provides strategic, flexible, long-term and predictable funding, so that National Societies can act before an emergency occurs.

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Article

A greater push for multi-hazard, people-centred climate risk reduction across Africa

Over the past 20 years, the number of climate-related events and people affected in Africa has risen dramatically. Successive devastating crises, such as droughts in the Horn of Africa and deadly cyclones and floods in Mozambique and Libya, will likely continue as the frequency and impact of climate extremes continue to intensify. Africa´s population is also projected to double in the next 30 years, meaning more will be impacted in the coming years if nothing is done. We cannot allow lives to be lost in predictable disasters. Early warning systems with early action are the most effective and dignified way to prevent an extreme weather event from causing a humanitarian crisis—especially for the most vulnerable and remote communities. Two weeks ago, the Africa Climate Summit 2023 (ACS23) and the Africa Climate Week 2023 were convened in Nairobi. Leaders from governments, businesses, international organizations, and civil society gathered to explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to the mounting fallout from the climate crisis. Shortly after, the IFRC hosted the 10th Pan African Conference (PAC) bringing together Red Cross and Red Crescent leadership from 54 countries to discuss renewing investment in the continent. The ACS23 had only just concluded when the continent was struck by two major disasters: a massive earthquake in Morocco and Storm Daniel in Libya, both claiming thousands of lives and wiping out years of development. Rapid analysis of Storm Daniel has shown climate change made the catastrophe ‘far more likely’. And while earthquakes are not climate-related, the impact of the Morocco earthquake will linger for years, making affected communities more vulnerable to climate-related risks and hazards. The IFRC network quickly mobilized resources and emergency teams in both countries to support affected people and get urgently needed humanitarian assistance to hard-to-reach areas. But both disasters point to the need to invest in multi-hazard and people-centered risk reduction, adaptation and resilience in communities before disasters strike—a resounding call at the ACS23 and PAC. Africa has a strong network of 54 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the majority of which have signed our Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations which aims to galvanize a collective humanitarian response to the climate and environmental crisis. However, we need to do more to leverage our combined strengths, expertise, and resources to address the complex and diverse humanitarian challenges the continent is facing. While there are success stories to celebrate, fundamentals of National Society Development (NSD), along with risk management, localization, digital transformation, and improved membership coordination remain central to the ambition of African National Societies to deliver the most effective humanitarian, public health, and development services to their communities. These challenges and achievements were reviewed at the 10th PAC, with reflections and lessons turned into a reference framework for new actions and targets for African National Societies over the next four years. At the ACS23, an initiative politically endorsed at COP was launched for the continent: the Early Warnings for All Africa Action Plan. The IFRC, with its long and in-depth experience in disaster management, will lead the preparedness and response pillar of the plan and support the dissemination and communication pillar. The latter involves leveraging digital technology, such as mobile networks, apps, and social media platforms, to reach a wider audience and ensure the delivery of warnings in a timely manner. A huge step in the right direction, the ACS23 also provided space for: African leaders to boldly speak on their climate ambitions, calling for urgent action and showcasing the proactive approach taken by African countries to address the impacts of the changing climate on the most vulnerable.This was clearly summarized in the Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change. Youth and children to reflect on their power as young people to drive meaningful climate action and change in their society. Discussion on ways to boost investments in interventions around women’s empowerment, green growth, and climate action. A call by African leaders for accountability to countries responsible for the highest emissions to honour their commitments to operationalize the loss and damage fund, including the pressure for a shift in the global financing architecture. As we gear up to COP 28 in Dubai, it will be crucial for the African continent to have a joint and common position on key issues related to the climate crisis, especially on prioritizing the most vulnerable communities, unlocking more and flexible financing for adaptation, and calling for further, urgent action around loss and damage commitments made at COP 27. We need to continue dialogue with the most at-risk and vulnerable communities to address the gaps in the Nairobi declaration as we work to mobilize local resources for innovative and tangible solutions to the climate crisis.

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Press release

At Climate Ambition Summit, UN agencies and IFRC kickstart major initiative towards realizing Early Warnings for All by 2027

New York, 20 September 2023- At the UN Climate Ambition Summit today in New York, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced the development of a large-scale, collaborative push to establish life-saving Early Warning Systems in some of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries. An initial injection of US$1.3 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will be used to kick-start a much larger initiative aimed at delivering $157 million from the GCF and partner governments to move towards universal early warning for all. As part of the announcement, UNDP and its partners appealed for other donors to join forces, growing the initiative beyond the first group of countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Cambodia, Chad, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, and Somalia. Designed by UNDP, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and targeting finance from the GCF – with other donors expected to come on board – the project is a key contribution to realizing the UN Secretary-General’s Early Warnings for All initiative. TheEarly Warnings for All initiativeis an ambitious push to ensure everyone on Earth is protected from hazardous weather, water, and climate events through life-saving early warning systems by the end of 2027. UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Climate Action and Just Transition, Selwin Hartsaid, “Early Warning Systems are effective and proven tools to save lives and protect the livelihoods of those on the frontlines of climate crisis. Yet those that have contributed least to the climate crisis lack coverage. Six out of every ten persons in Africa are not covered by an early warning system. No effort should be spared to deliver on the ambitious but achievable goal set by the Secretary-General to ensure universal early warning systems coverage by 2027. This will require unprecedented levels of coordination and collaboration. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. One life lost from a lack of access to an early warning system is one life too many.” UNDP Administrator Achim Steinersaid, “The power of science and technology to predict disasters is yet another demonstration of humanity’s ability to confront climate change. Yet these vital early warning tools remain out of reach for too many. By bridging the gaps, this new initiative will help to advance the UN Secretary-General's bold vision whereby everyone, everywhere can benefit from Early Warning Systems by 2027. We invite partners and donors to join us in mobilizing the support needed to make this ambitious initiative a reality." GCF Executive Director, Mafalda Duartesaid, “Timely and accurate climate information is the first line of defense before disaster strikes. The more we scale up early warning systems, the more lives we save and the more livelihoods we protect. GCF is proud to make this initial contribution to Early Warnings for All to bridge investment gaps that stand in the way of a more resilient future for vulnerable communities across the developing world.” According to the WMO, extreme weather, climate and water-related events caused 11,778 reported disastersbetween 1970 and 2021, with just over 2 million deaths and $4.3 trillion in economic losses.https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/276405By 2050, the global economymay lose up to 14 percent ($23 trillion)on account of climate change. The benefits of multi-hazard Early Warning Systems are considerable. Just 24 hours’ notice of a hazardous event – for example, a flood or fire – cancut the ensuing damage by 30 percent. Countries with substantive-to-comprehensive early warning coverage experience disaster mortality rates eight times lower than countries with limited coverage. Half of countries worldwide, however, are not protected by multi-hazard Early Warning Systems, nor have protocols and resources in place to deal with climate extremes and hazards. The new 6-year project will help Antigua and Barbuda, Cambodia, Chad, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, and Somalia to develop their own projects, while also assisting at least 20 other vulnerable countries with technical and financial support from the GCF and Early Warnings for All partners. WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalassaid, “Floods, fires, heatwaves, and drought have all wreaked devastation with people’s lives and livelihoods in recent weeks. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of these extreme events. It is therefore vital that climate adaptation policies and actions embrace multi-hazard Early Warning Systems to protect people and property.” IFRC Secretary-General Jagan Chapagainsaid, "Communities most at risk must be warned early – and warning must be followed by action. IFRC’s role in reaching communities with early warnings and preparing them to act is critical to saving lives and livelihoods. This project demonstrates how Early Warning for All can bring together partners to take bigger and more effective actions that benefit everyone, especially communities who need it most." ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martinsaid, “When disaster strikes, timely communications are critical to save lives and reduce damage. Within the Early Warnings for All initiative, ITU is focusing on ensuring that communications channels are in place for warnings to swiftly and effectively reach people and communities. We are committed to mobilizing our unique public and private membership to help cover the world with an Early Warning System by the end of 2027.” Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR Mami Mizutorisaid, “Extreme weather events do not need to become deadly disasters. We need an immediate roll out of early warning systems to protect everyone, everywhere. We will only be safe when everyone is safe.” The implementing partners will tailor their support based on country needs and focus on enhancing national and community capacities, contributing to the global knowledge base, and developing timely and easily accessible climate information for communities to make practical decisions, such as when to evacuate ahead of a cyclone or flood, or how to mitigate the impact of an impending drought. The project will closely coordinate with and build on other efforts currently supporting the Early Warnings for All goals, such as theClimate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS)initiative and theSystematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF), a new UN fund co-created by WMO, UNDP and UNEP, that provides support to close today's major weather and climate data gaps. It will also help link participating countries with international institutions for sustainable financing and technical support. -- For more information, please contact: Dylan Lowthian | Head, Media Relations +1 (646) 673 6350 [email protected] Dan McNorton | +82 32 458 6338 [email protected]

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Article

El Niño: What is it and what does it mean for disasters?

What is El Niño? The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a cycle of warming and cooling events that happens along the equator in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño is the warming part of the cycle. It happens when there is a decrease in cool waters rising to the sea surface near South America. This leads to an increase in sea surface temperatures across the Pacific, which then warms the atmosphere above it. The cooling part of the cycle is called La Niña and has the opposite effect. El Niño and La Niña events happen every two to seven years. They usually last for 9-12 months but have been known to last for several years at a time. How does El Niño affect weather around the world? El Niño and La Niña change the way that air and moisture move around the world, which can affect rainfall and temperature patterns globally. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently announced that El Niño conditions have developed, and that we can expect disruptive weather and climate patterns and a rise in global temperatures. We know from past events when and which areas of the world are more likely to be wetter and drier during El Niño and La Niña. But no two El Niño and La Niña events are the same, so it’s important to keep track of forecasts as they develop. Is climate change affecting El Niño? In general, climate change is leading to warmer sea surface temperatures, and there is some evidence to suggest that this is affecting how El Niño and La Niña events influence weather patterns around the world. The WMO predicts that global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years due to a combination of climate change and El Niño. Will El Niño cause more disasters? El Niño events bring different disaster risks to different parts of the world. They can cause severe drought in Australia, Indonesia, parts of southern Asia, Central America and northern South America. When the last El Niño occurred seven years ago, it contributed to drought and food insecurity that affected tens of millions of people across southern and eastern Africa. They can also cause increased rainfall in southern South America, the southern United States, the Horn of Africa and central Asia. During summer in the northern hemisphere, El Niño’s warm waters can result in more intense tropical cyclones in the western Pacific, but fewer Atlantic hurricanes. Hear from Lilian Ayala Luque, Senior Officer for Anticipatory Action and Community Resilience for IFRC Americas, about the arrival of El Niño conditions and what it might mean for the region: What might be different about this year’s El Niño event? We are already aware of certain factors that will influence how the impacts of this El Niño will affect communities. For example: While there is an expectation of an end to the drought in the Horn of Africa, it can take some time for rain to filter down into the soil to support deep-rooted plants and begin restoring agriculture. While El Niño conditions usually limit the growth of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic, this effect may be balanced out by the unusually high sea surface temperatures currently being observed in the region where these storms form. In Ecuador and Peru, an outbreak of dengue following flooding earlier this year could potentially be exacerbated by the expected El Niño rains in early 2024. In southern Africa, it remains to be seen whether the cholera situation will be improved by the anticipated drier conditions. How is the IFRC network preparing for El Niño? The IFRC network is developing Early Action Protocols (EAPs)– formal plans that outline the triggers and early actions we’ll take when a specific hazard is forecasted to impact communities– including to prepare for hazards related to El Niño. In Ecuador, for example, we’ve developed triggers to address the increased likelihood of flooding in the rainy season from January to April. And in Central America, EAPs cover the increased likelihood of drought from June to August. Early actions include things like reinforcing buildings and homes, planning evacuation routes or pre-positioning stocks of food and water. Where can I find more information? OurEarly Warning, Early Actionpage Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre website Anticipation Hub website Anticipatory Pillar of the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund Twitter Space series on El Niñofrom the IFRC Americas team -- This article was adapted from a blog post on the Anticipation Hub website co-authored, by Liz Stephens, Andrew Krucziewicz and Chris Jack from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Check out the blog post for more information about El Niño and anticipatory action.

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Press release

IFRC and UN scale up Early Warnings for All into action on the ground

New York/Geneva, 21 March 2023 -The United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies areaccelerating action to ensure that everyone on Earth is protected by early warnings by 2027. A recentrecord-breaking tropical cyclone in Southeast Africa once again shows the paramount importance of these services to save lives and livelihoods from increasingly extremeweather and climate events. To aid this work, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has convenedan Advisory Panel of leaders of UN agencies, multilateraldevelopment banks, humanitarian organizations, civil societyand IT companies on 21 March. The aim is to inject more political, technologicaland financial cloutto ensure that Early Warnings for Allbecomes a reality for everyone, everywhere. The months ahead will see stepped up coordinated action,initially in 30 particularly at-risk countries, including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. Additionalcountries are expected to be added as this vital work with partners gathers pace, scaleand resourcing. At the same time, the UN’s existing actions and initiatives to save lives and livelihoods,andbuild resilience across a wide range of other countries will continue and be reinforced, ensuring the Early Warnings for All campaign turns its pledges into life-saving reality on the ground for millions of the most vulnerable people. The aim is not to re-invent the wheel, but rather promote collaboration and synergies and to harness the power of mobile phones and mass communications. “Now it is time for us to deliver results. Millions of lives are hanging in the balance.It is unacceptable that the countries and peoples that have contributed the least to creating the crisis are paying the heaviest prices,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “People in Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and small island states are 15 times more likely to die from climate disasters.These deaths are preventable. The evidence is clear: early warning systems are one of the most effective risk reductionand climate adaptation measures to reduce disaster mortality and economic losses,” said MrGuterres. The need is urgent. In the past 50 years, the number of recorded disasters has increased by a factor of five, driven in part by human-induced climate change which is super-charging our weather. This trend is expected to continue. If no action is taken, the number of medium- or large-scale disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 each day – by 2030. The occurrence of severe weather and the effects of climate change will increase the difficulty, uncertainty, and complexity of emergency response efforts worldwide. Preventable deaths Half of countriesglobally do not have adequate early warning systems and even fewer have regulatory frameworks to link early warnings to emergency plans.   “The unprecedented flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar from Tropical Cyclone Freddy highlights once again that our weather and precipitation is becoming more extreme and that water-related hazards are on the rise,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. “The worst affected areas have received months’ worth of rainfall in a matter of days and the socio-economic impacts are catastrophic.” “Accurate early warnings combined with coordinated disaster management on the ground prevented the casualty toll from rising even higher. But we can do even better and that is why the Early Warnings for All initiative is the top priority for WMO. Besidesavoiding damagesthe weather, climate and hydrological services are economically beneficial for agriculture, air, marine and ground transportation, energy, health, tourismand various businesses,” he said. WMO and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) are spearheading the Early Warnings for All initiative, along with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “The operationalization of this initiative is a clear example of how the UN System and partners can work together to save lives and protect livelihoods from disasters. Inclusive and multi-hazard early warning systems that close the ‘last mile’ areamong the best risk reduction methods in the face of climate-related hazards and geophysical hazards such as tsunamis. Achieving this is not only a clear target in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction but a moral imperative as well,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR.  Climate Change Adaptation Early warning systems are widely regarded as the “low-hanging fruit” for climate change adaptation because they are a relatively cheapand effective way of protecting people and assets from hazards, including storms, floods, heatwavesand tsunamis to name a few. Early Warning Systems providemore than a tenfold return on investment Just 24 hours’ notice of an impending hazardous event can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent. The Global Commission on Adaptation found that spending just US$800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of $3 to 16 billion per year. “When disaster strikes, people and communities can turn to technology as a lifeline,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “By leading the work of the UN Early Warnings for All initiative on ‘Warning Dissemination and Communication,’ ITU is helping ensure that those at risk can act in time to our increasingly climate-vulnerable world.” Alerts can be sent via radio and television channels, by social media, and with sirens. ITU recommends an inclusive, people-centered approach using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standardized data format for public warnings, to keep messages coherent across different channels. “Early warnings that translate into preparedness and response save lives. As climate-related disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense and more deadly, they are essential for everyone, but one in three people globally are still not covered. Early warning systems are the most effective and dignified way to prevent an extreme weather eventfrom creating a humanitarian crisis - especially for the most vulnerable and remote communities who bear the brunt of it. No lives should be lost in a predictable disaster,” said IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain. Advisory Panel The Early Warnings for All initiative callsfor initialnew targeted investments between 2023 and 2027 of US$ 3.1 billion – a sum which would be dwarfed by the benefits. This is a small fraction (about 6 per cent) of the requested US$ 50 billion in adaptation financing. It would cover strengthening disaster risk knowledge, observations and forecasting, preparedness and response, and communication of early warnings. A range of new and pre-existing innovative financing solutions are requiredto implement the plan to protect every person on Earth. These include a scaling up of the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, theSystematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF), and accelerated investment programmesof climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund, and key Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), as well as other innovative new financial instruments across all stakeholders of the early warning value chain. TheAdvisory Panel meeting will consider advancing thefour key Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) pillars: Disaster risk knowledge and management (US$374 million): aims to collect data and undertake risk assessments to increase knowledge on hazards and vulnerabilitiesand trends. Led by UNDRR with support from WMO. Detection, observations, monitoring, analysisand forecasting of hazards(US$1.18 billion). Develop hazard monitoring and early warning services. Led by WMO, with support from UN Development Programme(UNDP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Environment Programme(UNEP). Dissemination and communication (US$550 million). Communicate risk information so it reaches all those who need it, andis understandable and usable. Led by ITU, with support from IFRC, UNDP, and WMO. Preparedness and response ($US1 billion): Build national and community response capabilities. Led by IFRC, with support from Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Food Programme(WFP). Notes for Editors : Background to the initiative The Early Warnings ForAll Initiative (EW4All) was formally launched by the UN Secretary-General in November 2022 at the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh. The Initiative calls for the whole worldto be covered by an early warning system by the end of 2027. Early Warnings for All is co-led by WMO and UNDRR and supported by pillar leads ITU and IFRC. Implementing partners are:FAO, OCHA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, REAP, and WFP. The Advisory Panel will monitorand report on the progress against the achievement of the goal to the UN Secretary-General, and has the following objectives: Assess progress of the Early Warnings for All initiative against its goals and targets Build political and overall momentum and support for the Early Warnings for All initiative Provide overall recommendations for the mobilization of resources, and Monitor scientific and technical development related to early warning systems Membership of Advisory Panel António Guterres, UN Secretary-General Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General Mami Mizutori,  Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director SimaBahous, UN Women Executive Director Rabab Fatima, USG, Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS Oscar Fernández-Taranco, ASG Development Coordination Office (UNDCO) Martin Griffiths, USG/OCHA Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA Michel Lies, Chair of the Insurance Development Forum MsTasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network ,Climate Action Network  JoyeNajm Mendez, Youth Representative, SG’s Youth Advisory Group Prof. Anthony Nyong, Director, Climate Change and Green Growth, African Development Bank H.E Sameh Shoukry COP 27 President H.E. DrSultanAl Jaber, COP 28 Presidentdesignate Media contacts: In Geneva:Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected] In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]

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Press release

Pacific: Urgent call for collective action to reduce the impact of climate change and disasters

Suva, 23 February 2023 – The escalating impact from climate hazards will destroy decades of development progress in the Pacific if there is not a major shift from disaster response to anticipatory action, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) concluded during this week’s Red Cross Pacific Leaders Meeting in Suva, Fiji. Pacific island states make up the majority of countries that suffer the highest relative losses – between 1 percent and 9 percent of their GDP – from the impact of natural hazards. Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said: “We have a lot of humanitarian challenges in the Pacific which we need to address together as a region and not only as the Red Cross in each country. Climate change and disasters are all constantly affecting our region in some shape or form. We need to ensure resources, financing, and knowledge to address the challenges of climate change are available to be able to better anticipate how we can prepare and respond. To effectively manage the risks of disasters, we need to focus on investing in disaster response as well as resilience building actions ahead of disasters which also supports risk-informed development. As a result, we can minimise the human and economic losses that can set back a country’s development progress." Climate change is exacerbating underlying vulnerabilities which will continue to degrade livelihoods and resilience as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods are set to increase in the coming decades. Further compounded with longer term, severe events such as droughts, sea level rise, king tides and saltwater intrusion, the Red Cross must lead, with their communities across the Pacific, on anticipation and preparedness for the changing nature of disaster impact. “More must be done in terms of anticipatory action, adaptation, and preparedness, to save lives and livelihoods.” The Red Cross in the Pacific are Australian Red Cross, Cook Islands Red Cross, Fiji Red Cross, Kiribati Red Cross, Marshall Islands Red Cross, Micronesia Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross, Palau Red Cross, Papua New Guinea Red Cross, Samoa Red Cross, Solomon Islands Red Cross, Tonga Red Cross, Tuvalu Red Cross and Vanuatu Red Cross. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]

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Article

Last year ‘eighth in a row’ of temperatures above pre-industrial level, threatening Paris target of 1.5°C

This article was originally posted on the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre website here. The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fuelled by “ever-rising emissions and accumulated heat”, according to six international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and explained yesterday. The WMO says the global temperature last year was 1.15°C above an 1850–1900 baseline, and 2022 was the eighth year in a row that it reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, apress releasefrom Geneva said. “The likelihood of – temporarily – breaching the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement is increasing with time,” it added. The persistence of a coolingLa Niña, now in its third year, means that 2022 was not the warmest on record, but at least the sixth warmest nevertheless. The WMO work shows a ten-year global average to 2022 of 1.14°C above the 19th century baseline, compared to the IPCC’s most recent figure 1.09°C for the decade to 2020, indicating that long-term warming continues. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said yesterday: “In 2022, we faced several dramatic weather disasters which claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure. “Large areas of Pakistan were flooded, with major economic losses and human casualties. Record-breaking heatwaves have been observed in China, Europe, North and South America [and] drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe. “There is a need to enhance preparedness for such extreme events and to ensure that we meet the UN target of early warnings for all in the next five years.” The WMO said its provisionalState of the Global Climate in 2022report speaks of “record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”, continuing to cause extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating floods, and affecting millions of people. Responding to the latest figures on global temperature, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “People around the globe are feeling the effects of our warming climate, and scientific data continues to reinforce this terrifying reality. Inclusive climate action, led by those most at risk, is key to combating the climate crisis. "The window to implement life-saving adaptation measures is slowly closing, but there is still time to help communities adapt to climate-related disasters, including investments in early warning systems that reach everyone.” Last September, the IFRC unveiled aOne Fund, Two Pillarsapproach for its Disaster Response Emergency Fund, reflecting an increased commitment to anticipatory action. Temperature rankings of individual years should be considered in the long-term context since the differences between years can be marginal, the WMO press release added. “Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This is expected to continue.”

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Press release

COP27: Now is the time to transform words into action

In response to the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan, a statement by President Francesco Rocca and Secretary General Jagan Chapagain of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): While leaders have been meeting at COP27 for the past two weeks, families are dealing with the very real impacts of extreme weather—unable to wait for promises to transform into action.  Over the past two weeks, the IFRC’s risk watch system put out alerts for some 14 floods in Africa, 18 in the Americas, 35 in Asia Pacific, five in the European Union and two in the MENA region. During this period, four named tropical storms threatened destruction. Wildfires have ripped through communities in ten countries, affecting more than 10,000 hectares. And on Friday, at least three people died as the result of floods in Kigali, Rwanda and 11 in Venezuela. In Ethiopia 185,000 people were displaced. Communities in Africa and Afghanistan continue to grapple with food insecurity, which are alarming compounding crises. Loss and Damage landed on the COP agenda for the first time, and today world leaders have agreed to the establishment of new funding arrangements assisting developing nations, especially those most at-risk of the adverse effects of climate change. We welcome the finance pledges which have been made on Loss and Damage, which are historically important conversations and positive steps forward. These need to be complemented by new and additional finance that reaches the people and communities most at risk – and to be predictable, adequate, and flexible in order to address climate related crisis. We are pleased to see the agreement to operationalize the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage to provide crucial technical assistance to reduce and respond to the impacts communities are already facing. However, we must raise our ambition to reduce emissions and this COP did not deliver on that front. Every increment of global warming matters to save lives and livelihoods, and is therefore critical to keep global temperatures below the 1.5C degrees warming limit.  We welcome the focus on Early Warning Systems in the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan, which reflects realities at the frontlines of the climate crisis that the IFRC has been bringing to the fore for over two decades. Reducing risk and saving lives, especially in last mile communities, is what our teams around the globe do every single day and it is heartening to see this work being expanded. To be most effective, early warnings must be followed by early action and these systems must be rooted in the communities—including those hardest to reach and families stuck in protracted crises. As the humanitarian impacts of climate change keep growing, so too should the finance for adaptation, ensuring it reaches the most affected and most at-risk. As the legacy of the “implementation COP,” global investment needs to reach the local level.  It is time to turn words and commitments into action at the national level, to bring the agreement to life and make a real difference in the lives of people and communities most impacted by the climate crisis.  As the IFRC network, we are committed to scaling up local action to respond to the climate crisis, working with communities to build preparedness and resilience in face of rising risks and impacts. Climate and environmental crises are a threat to humanity and we all have a role to play. Now we must look forward with focused determination and hope.  Our collective actions can inspire ambition we need to see in the world. Media contacts: In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803,[email protected]

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Speech

IFRC Secretary General speech at the Early Warnings for All Executive Action Plan launch

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The IFRC welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s pledge on Early Warning Systems for All. Over the last decade, some of the most recent—and often predictable—extreme weather events were the most deadly, costly, and devastating. From our experience, we know that early warnings can only work if they are turned into early anticipatory actions. This message has come through well in the Early Warning for All initiative. The IFRC has been contributing to 3 of the 4 pillars of the executive action plan on this initiative and leading on the ‘preparedness to respond' pillar. We thank everyone involved in the development of the plan of action. Now is the time to put the plan into action. Here is how: First: help create an enabling environment where local communities and organizations like our National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are truly empowered to lead local actions. Their power through their knowledge and ownership can be truly transformative in realising the ambitions of early warning and early action. Be courageous to unleash that power. Second: the key to success is the power of partnership. Let's bring together and use the best of our organizations to implement the plan of action. Third: The Early Warning for All initiative is most effective if we leverage the power of existing coordination and collaboration platforms such as the IFRC hosted Risk-informed Early Action Partnership and Anticipation Hub, as well as the Centre of Excellence. Finally, put in place ambitious financing mechanisms. Change will not come without an investment. The IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund is a good example as it can disburse funds ahead of disasters to reduce their humanitarian impact. Ultimately our collective success should be measured by the lives saved and livelihoods preserved. The IFRC network looks forward to a strong collaboration on the Early Warning for All initiative with the WMO and other partners. Together, let us ensure that early warnings are people-centered, including those in the furthest to reach places. Thank you.

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Press release

COP27: The world cannot afford another set of vague promises, warns IFRC

Geneva, 1 November 2022 – No region in the world is spared from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, but the communities most vulnerable to its effects are getting the least help. New data from the world’s largest humanitarian network shows that none of the globe's 30 most vulnerable countries are among the 30 highest recipients of adaptation funding per capita. At COP27, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will call on world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions and significantly scale up funding to enable the most vulnerable communities to adapt and cope with the catastrophic impacts they are already facing. Francesco Rocca, IFRC President said: “Our planet is in crisis and climate change is killing the most at-risk. COP27 will fail if world leaders do not support communities who are on the frontlines of climate change. Families who are losing loved ones, homes or livelihoods cannot afford to wait for vague promises or weak commitments.” “To save lives now and in the future, we need political action and concrete changes that prioritize the communities most at risk and help them become more resilient. The climate crisis is here now, and we need to protect those worst affected.” Science is now alarmingly clear on the humanitarian impacts of climate change. IFRC data shows that in the last 10 years, 86% of all disasters triggered by natural hazards were caused by weather and climate-related events, killing at least 410,000 people and affecting a further 1.7 billion. The 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report showed for the first time that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises, with an estimated 3.3-3.6 billion people living in contexts vulnerable to climate change. Caroline Holt, Director of Disaster, Climate, and Crises at the IFRC remarked: “Increasing adaptation funding is critical to help countries address climate change’s impacts and prepare for the future, but the new IFRC analysis demonstrates that the funding isn’t getting to places and communities who need it most. Climate adaptation funding per person averages less than 1 CHF per person in countries where vulnerability is highest.” Somalia – where extreme droughts have brought the country to the brink of famine – was ranked highest for climate vulnerability but ranked only 64th for adaptation funding in 2020*. Somalia received less than a dollar per person in climate change adaptation each year, while the Central African Republic received less than two cents. According to Maarten Van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, when communities are given the tools to prepare for and anticipate climate risks, they can prevent extreme weather events from becoming disasters. Van Aalst points out that the world must also step up efforts to tackle the losses and damages already experienced by people on the frontline of the climate crisis. Notes to editors: View photos and videos with proper credit on IFRC ShaRED. National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies not only respond to disasters when they occur, but also play a critical role in preventing hazards such as floods and heatwaves from becoming disasters. Working at the front lines in communities before, during and after disasters, they know what is needed to respond to climate crises and help communities prevent and adapt to the rising risks of climate change. The IFRC aims to support member National Societies to reach 250 million people each year with climate adaptation and mitigation services to reduce suffering and vulnerability. * Climate Vulnerability is determined based on a combination of ND-GAIN and INFORM Index analysis of long term and short-term climate vulnerability. ND-GAIN quantifies national vulnerability to climate disruptions, while also assessing a country’s readiness to leverage investment for adaptive actions. Vulnerability is calculated as a combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, while readiness incorporates economic, governance and social components. The INFORM index quantifies national disaster risk based on historical exposure to hazards, vulnerability and coping capacity. For more information or to arrange an interview: In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected] In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803, [email protected]

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Article

IFRC announces changes to flagship Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)

Today, the IFRC is launching important and exciting new changes to our flagship Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF). The DREFis our central pot of money through which we can release funds rapidly to Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for early action and immediate disaster response. It's the quickest, most efficient and most transparent way of getting funding directly to local humanitarian actors, and has supported more than 200 million people in crisis since its launch back in 1985. As of today: The DREF is now one fund made up of two 'pillars': an Anticipatory Pillar, previously known as 'Forecast-based Action by the DREF' and a Response Pillar. This new structure gives National Societies more opportunityto actbefore a hazard and better ability to respond quickly when a disaster strikes. We have introduceda new DREF funding modality to assess and address slow-onset disasters, such as drought and food insecurity. We have increased the funding ceilings available for National Societies so they can scale up and access the appropriate amount of funding required, at the right time, to meet the needs of at-risk and affected communities. We have made it easier for National Societies to request funding from the DREF by setting up an online application process on our emergency operations platform, IFRC GO. This digital transformation makes the request process even quicker, more efficient and more transparent. Speaking about the changes to the DREF, IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said: “Humanitarian needs are growing exponentially. So too is the pressure on our IFRC network to anticipate and respond to bigger and more complex crises. Our DREF is evolving to meet these needs”. For more information about these improvements to the DREF, please contact Florent Delpinto, Manager of the IFRC Emergency Operations Centre:[email protected]

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Press release

Typhoon Noru batters Philippines as people evacuate to safety

Kuala Lumpur/Manila 25 September 2022 – People in northern Philippines are scrambling to safe areas and evacuation centres as Super Typhoon Noru (locally named Karding) begins to batter thousands of cities, homes, and infrastructure. The typhoon, hit maximum wind speeds of 260km per hour has made landfall at the Polillio islands, north-eastern Philippines this Sunday afternoon, local time. Philippine Red Cross teams are on the ground, mobilised to assist and evacuate people to safety. Typhoon Noru will be the strongest storm hitting the country this year and it is as intense and destructive as last year's Super Typhoon Rai which wrecked 1.5 million houses in December. Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross Chairman said: “This storm is the strongest one yet this year to hit us. It is critical that we move everyone to safety right now as this Typhoon is set to cause devastation in all Central Luzon, including our capital, Manila. “Our volunteers are on full stand-by mode working with authorities to move people to evacuation centres with all their necessities. We also pre-positioning emergency relief, hot meals, and medical supplies in anticipation. Our water tankers for drinking water and payloaders to quickly clear off debris, mud and fallen trees and make roads accessible to reach communities are also in place. “We are advising people to charge their phones, pack food, and grab their important belongings. There is no telling of the extent of the disruptions.” The eastern seaboard Luzon island, (facing the Pacific ocean) is already being hit with strong winds and heavy rains. Hundreds of people in ports are left stranded as air and sea operations halt. The island is the country's largest and most populated island. Alberto Bocanegra, IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office said: “We have learned from responding to last year's strongest typhoon, Rai. We believe we are continuing to adapt our emergency responses and are prepared to handle to the intensity of this storm. “These weather-related events are intensifying and becoming more frequent. The super storm that hit south-eastern Philippines was a mere ten months ago, and the people affected are barely picking up the pieces. We must be effective and quick to adapt no matter how bad the situation will be. “IFRC is working closely with the Philippines Red Cross and helping with relief and providing support." Philippines is hit with torrential rains, strong winds, floods and tropical storms multiple times in a year. For more information, contact, Asia Pacific Office: Afrhill Rances, +60 19-271 3641, [email protected] Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830, [email protected] Soneel Ram, +679 998 3688, [email protected]

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Press release

WFP and IFRC join forces to strengthen response to anticipated climate shocks in MENA

Dubai, 10 August 2022–The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) signed a regional Memorandum of Understanding to support joint advocacy, capacity development, and resource mobilization for the coordinated national-level implementation of anticipatory action in response to climate shocks in the Middle East and North Africa region. The signing took place at the conclusion of an event, “Road to COP27: Anticipatory Action Milestones and Way Forward in MENA”, that was hosted by the International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and attended by high-level speakers and representatives from the UAE government, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, WFP, IFRC, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and national societies, regional and international humanitarian organisations including UNDRR, FAO, Start Network, REAP. The event emphasized the ongoing importance of acting early ahead of climate-related disasters, through anticipatory action. Anticipatory action is an effective way of mitigating the worst consequences of predictable climate risks, which are expected to become more frequent and intense because of climate change and conflict in the MENA region. “In a region where climate hazards such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves are increasing humanitarian needs, anticipatory action aims to reduce or mitigate the impact of these hazards on the most vulnerable people,” said Mageed Yahia, WFP Representative to the GCC. “We are grateful for the strong representation from the UAE in this event today, an important ally in the quest to make the humanitarian system as anticipatory as possible,” he added. Over the last few years, WFP and IFRC have been making progress in setting the scene for an anticipatory action (AA) approach in the MENA region for acting earlier ahead of disasters. “Let us not forget that COP27 goals and vision are mitigation, adaptation, finance, and collaboration. Today we are addressing these four main elements, as Anticipatory Action allows for the mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts,” said IFRC MENA Deputy Regional Director, Rania Ahmad. “This collaboration between IFRC and WFP will allow for increased sharing of experiences and financing and make the most vulnerable populations better prepared and enhance their resilience.” During the event, WFP and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) also launched the “Anticipatory Action in the MENA Region: State of Play and Accelerating Action” report, supported by the Swedish government, which highlights the state of anticipatory action in the region, and its potential to help avoid and reduce the impacts of disasters. Regional coordination and collaboration across all stakeholders will be necessary to complement efforts and engagements to scale up the anticipatory actions agenda in the region with tangible results. To support this, IFRC and WFP are establishing the “MENA Anticipatory Action regional community of practice” as a space for technical and advocacy coordination, collaboration, learning exchange, and capacity strengthening on anticipatory action and acting earlier ahead of disasters in the region. The initiative will bring together UN agencies, the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, as well as international organizations, governments, NGOs, the public and private sector, and academia, to coordinate and work together to effectively scale up and deliver anticipatory action programmes as the threat of climate shocks continues to grow. For more information please contact: Malak Atkeh, IFRC/GCC, [email protected],+971 564780874 Zeina Habib, WFP/Gulf, [email protected], +971 52 4724971 Abeer Etefa, WFP/MENA, [email protected], +20 1066634352 Reem Nada, WFP/MENA, [email protected], +20 1066634522

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Press release

IFRC urges governments and humanitarian partners to protect lives ahead of an active hurricane season in the Americas

Panama/Geneva, 31 May 2022 —The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is ramping up preparedness actions ahead of another above-average active Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Ocean. The IFRC urges governments and humanitarian stakeholders to protect lives by investing in early warning systems, forecast-based solutions, and coordinated disaster response plans. From 1 June to 30 November 2022, North America, Central America, and the Caribbean expect between 14 to 21 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six hurricanes of category three or higher. The IFRC and its network are working to ensure communities are better prepared to cope with the effects of heavy rains, landslides, and floods that these weather events may cause during the next six months. Martha Keays, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, said: “The region may face up to six major hurricanes, but it takes just one single storm to destroy communities that are already grappling with poverty, inequality, and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, hundreds of local Red Cross teams in more than 20 countries are sharing early warning messages and coordinating preparedness measures with local governments and community leaders. In parallel, the IFRC is combining weather forecasts with risk analysis to take early actions ahead of hurricanes rather than simply responding to events. This approach allows us to anticipate disasters, decrease their impact as much as possible, and prevent suffering and the loss of lives and livelihoods.” The IFRC is paying special attention to the needs of women, children, migrants, and returnees, who are suffering from overlapping crises in Central America. This region is still recovering from the pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iota, which left 1.5 million people displaced in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala alone. In Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti, vulnerable communities exposed to hurricanes and storms are also at highest risk of food insecurity due to the current global food shortage crisis. In this challenging scenario, the IFRC is advocating for regulatory frameworks that favor the agile delivery of humanitarian aid to areas affected by disasters. It has also prepositioned humanitarian goods in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and across the Caribbean to provide immediate response to the humanitarian needs for up to 60,000 people in both the Pacific and Atlantic coastal zones. According to the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, the 2022 hurricane season in the Atlantic, and the Caribbean Sea is predicted to be more active than normal due to the influence of the La Niña climate pattern. This phenomenon is active for the third consecutive year and causes sea temperatures in this basin to be above average. This condition allows for more active development of hurricanes, as seen in 2020 and 2021. For more information, please contact: In Panama Susana Arroyo Barrantes - Comms Manager Americas,[email protected] María Victoria Langman - Senior Comms Officer Americas,[email protected] In Jamaica Trevesa Da Silva - Comms Officer English & Dutch Caribbean, [email protected]

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Press release

Scientists confirm climate change already contributes to humanitarian crises across the world

Geneva, 28 February 2022 ­– The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for urgent local action and funding, particularly for those most vulnerable, to combat the devastating humanitarian impacts of the climate crisis confirmed in today’s report by world’s climate scientists. For the first time, the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published today notes that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises in vulnerable contexts. In addition, climate and weather extremes are increasingly driving displacement in every region of the world. IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “The IPCC report confirms what the IFRC and its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have already witnessed for years: Climate change is already disrupting the lives of billions, particularly the world’s poorest who have contributed the least to it.” “The global response to COVID-19 proves that governments can act decisively and drastically in the face of imminent global threats. We need the same energy and action to combat climate change now, and we need it to reach the most climate-vulnerable communities across the world so that they have the tools and funding to anticipate and manage risks.” The report, authored by more than 200 climate experts, reaffirms the key principles that the IFRC network has been calling for to tackle climate change; that local action is key in tackling climate change and that responding to disasters after they happen will never be enough to save lives and combat a crisis of this magnitude. The latest science confirms, with very high confidence, that climate impacts and risks exacerbate vulnerabilities as well as social and economic inequities. These in turn increase acute development challenges, especially in developing regions and particularly exposed sites, such as coastal areas, small islands, deserts, mountains and polar regions. Maarten van Aalst, coordinating lead author of the report and Director for the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre said: “This report is a flashing red light, a big alarm for where we are today. It tells us in unequivocal scientific language that the window for concerted global action to secure a liveable future is rapidly closing. It demonstrates that all the risks we were concerned about in the past are now are now coming at us much faster.” “But the report also shows that it is not too late yet. We can still reduce emissions to avoid the worst. Alongside, we’ll have to manage the changes we can no longer prevent. Many of the solutions, such as better early warning systems and social safety nets, have already proven their value. If we raise our ambition to adapt to the rising risks, with priority for the most vulnerable people, we can still avoid the most devastating consequences.” Notes to editors National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies not only respond to disasters when they occur, but also play a critical role in preventing hazards such as floods and heatwaves from becoming disasters. Working at the front lines in communities before, during and after disasters, they know what is needed to respond to climate crises and help communities prevent and adapt to the rising risks of climate change. The IFRC aims to support member National Societies to reach 250 million people each year with climate adaptation and mitigation services to reduce suffering and vulnerability. For more information or to arrange an interview: In Geneva: Caroline Haga, +358 50 598 0500, [email protected] Rights-free b-roll and images related to this press release are available to download and use here.

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Press release

Madagascar: Red Cross teams rush to avert a tragedy as Tropical Cyclone Emnati approaches

Antananarivo/Nairobi/Geneva, 21 February 2022—Teams from the Malagasy Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)in the eastern part of Madagascar are working around the clock to minimize the humanitarian impact of the fast-approaching Tropical Cyclone Emnati. Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, the Secretary General of Malagasy Red Cross said: “There is a risk of a double tragedy, as some communities are expected to be hit by a second cyclone in less than a month. Tropical Cyclone Emnati is likely to have a devastating effect on communities on the eastern coastline of Madagascar that are still reeling from the impact of Cyclone Batsirai. Many have lost their homes, crops and livestock. We are truly worried and call upon partners to increase their support and avert a humanitarian tragedy.” The arrival of Emnati will only worsen an already dire humanitarian situation. The impact ofCyclone Batsirai, which made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar on 5 February 2022, continues to be felt in the regions of Atsinanana, Fitovinany, Vatovavy and Atsimo-Atsinanana. In Vatovavy region, the most affected districts are Nosy-Varika and Mananjary. In Fitovinany region, the most affected districts are Manakara, Vohipeno and Ikongo, with 140,000 people in need of assistance. Tomorrow, with projected windspeeds of 220 km per hour, tropical Cyclone Emnati is expected to strike the same regions that were already hit by Batsirai: Atsinanana, Vatovavy and Fitovinany. Ahead of its landfall, the IFRC and Malagasy Red Cross Society teams, as well as partners in the region, are providing early warning support and preparing emergency relief items to help communities living in the cyclone’s path to stay safe. The Malagasy Red Cross Society is part of the national emergency response mechanism, which is led by the Malagasy Government, through the National Office for Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC). To support the Malagasy Red Cross to help affected communities, the IFRCis stepping up its response efforts and is seeking additional funds. Alina Atemnkeng, who is currently in Mananjary leading IFRC’s response following Cyclone Batsirai, as well as the preparedness efforts ahead of Emnati’s landfall, said: “Malagasy Red Cross Society’s teams, IFRC teams and partners are on high alert and are deployed in communities, warning them of the approaching storm. Red Cross volunteers are sharing early warning messages with communities, preparing evacuation sites and helping communities to move to safer locations.” Atemnkeng added:“As we respond, we need to think short-term and long-term at the same time: more cyclones will come, and we need to ensure that communities are adequately protected from the inevitable, subsequent storms. Given the overall challenges caused by climate change, we reiterate our call to governments, regional intergovernmental bodies and our partners to strengthen their investments in disaster risk reduction, with a particular focus on preparedness actions.” Madagascar is one of the ten most vulnerable countries to disasters worldwide and faces compounding hazards. While the eastern parts are battling cyclones, the southern parts are experiencing severe drought leaving at least 1.3 million people in need of food assistance.Globally, we are seeing that climate change is aggravating the risk of complex emergencies, which are increasingly challenging for the humanitarian community to respond to. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact: In Madagascar: Mialy Caren Ramanantoanina, +261 329 842 144,[email protected](in Mananjary) Ny Antsa Mirado Rakotondratsimba, +261 34 54 458 76,[email protected] In Nairobi:Euloge Ishimwe,+254 735 437 906,[email protected] In Geneva:Caroline Haga, +358 50 598 0500,[email protected]

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Article

Joint statement on enhanced local action to achieve ambitions in addressing climate change

October 29, 2021 – Six years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, COP26 will be critical to catalyse global action on climate change. COP26 marks the first time since COP21 that Parties are expected to commit to enhanced climate action. It is a critical moment not only for the signatory states to the Paris Agreement, but for all sectors. Every part of the world is experiencing the effects of climate change, both on the environment and on people. With the warming planet, disasters like wildfires, heatwaves, and flooding are becoming more frequent and destructive, meanwhile sea-levels continue rising. This is NOT a common future that we wish to share. Urgent action is needed now, not only to halt the warming of the climate, but to address the humanitarian impacts of climate change and to support communities to adapt. The Paris Agreement is a global commitment that every signatory state will need to implement, underpinned by locally led adaptation action, engaging and supporting local communities most impacted by climate change. As the COP26 Presidency, the United Kingdom is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with people on the frontlines of climate change, including National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (National Societies) which bring together 14 million volunteers across 192 countries. Part of this effort is encouraging partners to join the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) for collaboration on delivering solutions on adaptation and resilience, and a commitment to consult with others on effective ways to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. Today, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and its members represent the largest humanitarian network in the world. National Societies as auxiliaries to their public authorities in the humanitarian field are in a unique position to support their governments in taking the necessary steps to address the humanitarian impacts of climate change. We have seen this collaboration reduce disaster and climate risks and help to build resilient communities. For example, following significant UK heatwaves in Summer 2020, the British Red Cross published new research this year—'Feeling the Heat'—on the increasing impact of extreme heat in the UK, offering practical advice—'Heatwave checklist'— to help people stay safe, well and adapt. National Societies are supporting locally led adaptation, including disaster preparedness and risk reduction, anticipatory action, nature-based solutions, as well as in cooperation with governments integrating climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction into law, policy and practical action. Collaboration is also taking place through the leading work of the RiskInformed Early Action Partnership (REAP), the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), and the Anticipation Hub. Understanding: i) the unique role played by the IFRC and National Societies as auxiliaries to their public authorities in the humanitarian field; ii) the priorities of the UK COP26 Presidency on adaptation and resilience, to protect communities and natural habitats; and iii) our shared commitment to working together to deliver, we are issuing this joint statement to call upon: ● Governments, at national, sub-national, and local levels, to include National Societies in relevant climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction processes, so they can, with their experience and knowledge as well as their access to communities, contribute to the realisation of the Paris Agreement; and ● National Societies, to connect and continue supporting relevant ministries of their governments and actively participate in national adaptation and disaster risk reduction policy-making, planning and implementation processes, championing locally-led adaptation which supports and engages the most climate vulnerable. Let’s be ambitious. Let’s take bold action to tackle the climate crisis and build a resilient future for all. -- Mike Adamson, CEO British Red Cross Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) The Rt Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP Secretary of State for International Trade; COP26 Champion on Adaptation and Resilience United Kingdom Government

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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]

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Early warning, early action

Early warning and early action, also known as anticipatory action or forecast-based action, means taking steps to protect people before a disaster strikes based on early warning or forecasts. To be effective, it must involve meaningful engagement with at-risk communities.