compounds climate disasters but shows action can work - Red Cross
Send a link to a friend
[September 17, 2021]
By Kanupriya Kapoor
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The coronavirus has
made it harder for authorities to respond to disasters caused by extreme
weather fuelled by climate change, with more severe storms, floods and
heatwaves affecting nearly 140 million people around the world, an aid
Almost half of those people live in the Asia-Pacific region, the
International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
said in a report published this week.
"Recovery from disasters is so much harder when livelihoods have
been hit hard by COVID-19 and the measures taken to contain it,"
said Maarten Van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent
Climate Centre and author of the report.
An example of the additional burden COVID-19 has put on those
responding to disasters was the need for social distancing during
evacuations caused by storms, the group said in the report.
As super cyclone Amphan barrelled down on Bangladesh in May last
year, authorities scrambled to open 14,000 evacuation centres -
three times the normal number - to ensure physical distancing for
the 2.4 million evacuees, the Red Cross federation said.
When Honduras was hit by two back-to-back hurricanes in November
preventing the spread of coronavirus became harder as water supplies
were knocked out and disrupted basic hygiene measures like
hand-washing, it said.
[to top of second column]
"The effects without COVID-19
would have been less severe," Van Aalst said,
referring to the impact of disasters made worse
by climate change.
But the response to the coronavirus pandemic has
shown that concerted action can be taken around
the world in the face of danger, IFRC President
Francesco Rocca said in a statement.
"The massive spending on 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."
(Editing by Robert Birsel)
[© 2021 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content