Global response to climate change failing people most at risk, says Red Cross

Global climate change response failing people most at risk
Representational image

New Delhi (NVI): The global efforts to tackle climate change are now failing to protect the people who are at most risk, the International Red Cross said in a report, noting that climate-related disasters have killed over 4 lakh people in the past decade.

The Red Cross also called upon government’s for urgent action to stop a rise in climate disasters and appealed for more smart financing to protect the most vulnerable communities.

A report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)— shows that the countries most affected by climate-related disasters receive only a fraction of the funding available for climate change adaptation and thus struggle to protect people from the aggravating effects of climate change.

Over the past decade, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms and heatwaves, the report said, adding that, “Together, these disasters killed more than 4,10,000 people and affected a staggering 1.7 billion people.”

IFRC’s Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said, “Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks.”

“However, our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this. There is a clear disconnection between where the climate risk is greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes. This disconnection could very well cost lives,” he added.

Moreover, the failure to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change is especially alarming given the steady increase in the number of climate and weather-related disasters.

According to the report, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters per decade has increased nearly 35 per cent since the 1990s.

Furthermore, the report titled — World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat, or High Water — noted that the massive stimulus packages that are currently being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity to address and reduce climate vulnerability.

A recovery that protects people and the planet would not only help to reduce today’s risks but would also make communities safer and more resilient to future disasters, it said.

The IFRC also said that smart financing focused on early warning and anticipatory action to reduce risks and prevent disasters before they happen and risk reduction measures would both play a major role in protecting the most exposed communities.

Chapagain further said, “Climate adaptation work can’t take a back seat while the world is preoccupied with the pandemic: the two crises have to be tackled together.”

“We must significantly scale up investment in climate smart actions that strengthens risk reduction and preparedness, alongside climate-smart laws and policies,” he added.