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Climate change threatens "dire humanitarian consequences"

1 April 2014

A global Red Cross leader has warned of "dire humanitarian consequences" if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut drastically and soon.

Tadateru Konoe, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, called for vulnerable communities to be given more information to help them prepare for the effects of climate change.

He was writing in response to the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on March 31.

President Konoe said: “If… we continue emitting greenhouse gases as we do today, we will be reaching the limits of adaptation in more and more places, and the humanitarian consequences will be dire.”

Preparedness is “first line of defence”

President Konoe said preparedness and resilience were the first line of defence for vulnerable communities in many risk-prone countries. He called on scientists and meteorologists to provide user friendly, action-oriented information to help people take timely action.

“We must ensure that information on risk finds its way to those who need it most, especially vulnerable groups directly affected, so local knowledge is combined with the best available science.”

Call to empower woman and protect ecosystemsA man in a suit© Info

President Konoe called for other steps including empowering women, improving people's access to markets and better management of ecosystems and natural resources.

He said growing risks had long been clear to millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world "working on the front line of the changing climate". He gave examples of Red Cross projects linked to the problem, including those that gave early warning of floods in Togo and reforested hillsides in Guatemala.


South Sudan news

After fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital Juba over the weekend, Red Cross staff are beginning to assess the situation there.

A hospital came under attack in South Sudan leading to more than a dozen deaths.

Hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan face starvation unless urgent action is taken.