Coronavirus compounds climate disasters but shows action can work - Red Cross

"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.


Reuters | Updated: 17-09-2021 13:28 IST | Created: 17-09-2021 13:04 IST
Coronavirus compounds climate disasters but shows action can work - Red Cross
Representative Image Image Credit: Wikimedia

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 organization said.

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 centers - 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. "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," Rocca said.

"It is time to turn words into action and devote the same energy to the climate crisis."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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