Kuala Lumpur, 16 December 2020 – In a record-breaking year, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has responded to more climate-related disasters across Asia Pacific than any other time this century so far.
The IFRC has already responded to 25 climate-related disasters in the Asia Pacific, including floods, typhoons, extreme cold weather and a drought. The climate emergency tally is seven more than last year continuing an upward trend.
In total, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams have responded to 29 major emergencies across the Asia Pacific in 2020, only one short of last year’s record number of overall responses.
Jessica Letch, IFRC Emergency Operations Manager said:
“This record-breaking number of climate disasters reinforces in blunt terms what was revealed in the IFRC 2020 World Disaster Report – that more volatile weather is bringing more climate related disasters.”
“Our teams are seeing the devastating impacts first-hand as they respond to widespread – and in many cases unprecedented – floods, storms and other extreme weather events.”
In 2019, more than 94.2 million people were affected by climate related disasters in Asia and the Pacific, according to the World Disasters report. The Asia Pacific is by far the most disaster-prone region in the world, with around twice as many emergencies as the Americas or Africa.
This year, South East Asia has been the busiest area for the IFRC’s disaster response teams, with 15 emergency response operations launched, including floods and typhoons that have impacted the lives of more than 31 million people across the Philippines and Vietnam.
Bangladesh with five ongoing operations, including big floods, Cyclone Amphan and the massive population displacement around Cox’s Bazar, also remains a high priority for the IFRC.
“All these disasters are happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which is making our operations some of the most complex ever. The challenge has been to help affected communities with emergency relief, while also taking the necessary steps to halt the spread of COVID-19.”
“People are used to storms and floods right across Asia but this year has tested the resilience of tens of millions of people to breaking point.”
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.