UN and Red Cross call for more preparedness for heat waves

GENEVA (HPD) — The International Red Cross and the United Nations urged people and governments Monday to do more to beat the heat by better preparing for heat waves like those seen recently in places as far away as Sacramento, California, Somalia or Sichuan. in China, and that could claim many lives in the future.

The United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued their first joint report, which collected the devastation of previous episodes and listed ways to prepare and limit the damage that may come from .

Between 2010 and 2019, 38 heat waves killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, according to the report “Extreme Heat: Preparing for Future Heat Waves.” The figure, which is probably underestimated, adds to the effects of this phenomenon on the lives and livelihoods of the population.

That cost accounted for more than a sixth of the more than 410,000 deaths from catastrophes associated with climate and extreme weather in that period, said the report, which cited previous Red Cross estimates.

Among their proposals, the two organizations said that some humanitarian groups are testing the deployment of emergency shelters, “green” roofs, refreshment centers and changes in school calendars to mitigate the impact of heat waves, which many scientists say become more frequent due to climate change caused by humanity.

In addition to that, governments were urged to improve their early warning systems for heat waves and to give more training and funding to local emergency services, which are often the first to respond to heat waves. The agencies said coordination between humanitarian groups, development organizations and climate experts also needs to be improved.

The United Nations and OCHA warned in particular about the great impact on developing countries. Bangladesh, they noted, has suffered up to 20% excess daily mortality during heat waves compared to the average day.

Heat waves can cause people to flee their places of residence, increasing migration to countries with a colder climate.

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