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Climate Crisis Intensifying Heatwaves: UN-Backed Report Warns Ahead Of COP27

The UN humanitarian affairs agency, OCHA, and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), warned in a report that record high temperatures this year foreshadow a future with deadlier, more frequent, and more intense heat-related humanitarian emergencies

Climate Crisis Intensifying Heatwaves UN-Backed Report Warns Ahead Of COP27
The report, titled "Extreme Heat: Preparing for the heatwaves of the future", has been released ahead of the COP27 UN climate change conference in Egypt next month

New York: Greater action is needed to avert the recurrence of disastrous heatwaves, which are being intensified by the climate crisis, a UN and Red Cross report warned. The UN humanitarian affairs agency, OCHA, and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), warned in a report issued on Monday (October 10) that record high temperatures this year – which are fueling catastrophes in countries such as Pakistan and Somalia – foreshadow a future with deadlier, more frequent, and more intense heat-related humanitarian emergencies.

Also Read: Warming May Lead To More Frequent, Longer-Lasting Droughts In India: Study

It noted that the world’s lowest-income countries are already experiencing disproportionate increases in extreme heat. “Although they are the least to blame for climate change, these nations will see a significant increase in the number of at-risk people in the coming decades,” the report said.

Martin Griffiths, UN Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said,

As the climate crisis goes unchecked, extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods, are hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest.

“Nowhere is the impact more brutally felt than in countries already reeling from hunger, conflict and poverty”, he added.

The report, titled “Extreme Heat: Preparing for the heatwaves of the future”, has been released ahead of the COP27 UN climate change conference in Egypt next month. It is the first report published jointly by the partners and offers concrete steps to mitigate the worst effects of extreme heat.

This year, communities across various parts of the world – in North Africa, Australia, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, the western United States and China – have experienced record-high temperatures.

Also Read: Actor Bhumi Pednekar Warns About Climate Crisis, Says It’s A ‘Looming Threat To Humanity’

In the coming decades, heatwaves are predicted to meet and exceed human physiological and social limits in regions such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and south-west Asia, the report said.

Humanitarian needs are already high in these regions, which could lead to large-scale suffering and death, population movements and further entrenched inequality, it highlighted.

Noting that the climate crisis is intensifying humanitarian emergencies worldwide, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), Secretary General Jagan Chapagain called for investment in both adaptation and mitigation, particularly in countries most at risk. He said,

At COP27, we will urge world leaders to ensure that this investment reaches local communities that are on the frontline of the climate crisis. If communities are prepared to anticipate climate risks and equipped to take action, we will prevent extreme weather events from becoming humanitarian disasters.

The report also reveals how heatwaves contribute to inequality, as isolated and marginalized people suffer the greatest impacts. Therefore, investments that mitigate climate change and support long-term adaption for these populations must be a priority.

Also Read: Taking Steps To Make India A Market For Carbon Credits: Union Minister R K Singh

Furthermore, although the impacts of extreme heat are global, vulnerable communities – agricultural workers, for example – are being pushed to the frontlines of the crisis. Meanwhile, elderly people, children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, face higher risk of illness and death.

The report outlines five key steps so that humanitarians can support the most vulnerable people. It calls for providing early information on heatwaves to help people and authorities take timely action by making forecasts available to all.

Supporting preparedness and expanding anticipatory action, especially by local actors, is also needed as they are often the first responders in emergencies. At the same time, it pointed out that the authorities should find new and more sustainable ways of financing local action.

“The humanitarian response will also have to adapt to the “new normal”. Some organizations are already testing out measures such as “green roofs”, cooling centres and more thermally appropriate emergency housing,” the report added.

Finally, it stressed that addressing the impact of extreme heat also requires strengthening engagement across the humanitarian, development, and climate spheres.

Also Read: Climate Change And Health: Five Reasons For Immediate Climate Action

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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