For immediate release 17 November 2011
For further information Mark South
Contact number 020 7877 7042
SREX is one more climate warning that the world needs to be prepared, says British Red Cross
The latest climate change report predicting an increase in extreme weather related disasters is a further alarm call for the world to step up preparation for future emergencies the British Red Cross is warning.
The summary of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), which is being released on Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), points to increasing volatility and frequency of extreme weather and a growing risk for people across the globe.
“The findings of this report certainly tally with what the Red Cross Movement is seeing, which is a rise in the number of weather related emergencies around the world,” said Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and coordinating lead author of the IPCC SREX report.
“We are committed to responding to disasters whenever and wherever they happen, but we have to recognise that if the number of disasters continues to increase, the current model we have for responding to them is simply impossible to sustain.
“It is more effective and efficient, in terms of both money and human lives, to try to anticipate disasters, and build resilience and preparedness before they happen.”
In Bangladesh where tropical cyclones regularly cause flooding and loss of life, the British Red Cross has invested in disaster risk reduction projects such as storm shelters and community early warning systems.
These have helped keep people safe and saved lives, but the projects have also helped support livelihoods so that people are able to support themselves and be more resilient in the aftermath of an emergency.
In the UK, the British Red Cross Get Ready for Winter initiative in Scotland has also helped people to prepare ahead of likely severe weather.
While it is very difficult to attribute individual weather events to climate change, the current floods in Thailand, Vietnam and Colombia, and the drought in Tuvalu, along with other extensive floods and heatwaves across the globe in recent years, all fit the pattern of increasingly severe weather as a result of climate change.
“The principles of resilience and preparedness hold true no matter where you are. If you know there is an increased risk of severe weather it would be irresponsible not to take steps to get ready,” added David Peppiatt, international director of the British Red Cross.
“The SREX report is a further warning that the world needs to be prepared for more weather related disasters. The British Red Cross is playing a key role in promoting that culture of preparedness around the world, but we must take a lead from this report and further increase efforts to build resilience and preparedness amongst vulnerable communities.”
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/britishredcross
Notes to editors
Available for Interview
Maarten van Aalst: director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and coordinating lead author of the IPCC SREX report.
David Peppiatt: international director of the British Red Cross
020 7877 7042