American Red Cross International ServicesMay 15, 2008Preparing Communities for Climate Change by Expanding Support forInternational Disaster Risk Reduction
As climate change heightens our world’s vulnerability to natural hazards, the work of theAmerican Red Cross in helping communities at home and abroad prepare for and respond todisasters becomes even more urgent. While experts work to address the causes of climatechange, the American Red Cross has expanded its efforts to help communities reduce their vulnerability to its impacts, including new or intensified weather-related risks.Governments and scientists agree that climate change is resulting in more intense and frequentweather events and erratic weather patterns. The increasing number of disasters—such as severefloods, droughts, typhoons, hurricanes and heat waves—is complicating the ability of communities to anticipate and recover from them.
Not surprisingly, the world’s poor are disproportionately vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, with fewer resources to prepare for or recuperate from weather-related disasters.
They are also increasingly likely to live in hazard-prone locations, such as makeshift houses onunstable hillsides or flood plains.Climate change has not only resulted in a rising number of natural hazards, but also producedstresses on water supplies, agricultural production and ecosystems.
Communities areincreasingly competing for scarce resources, creating additional tensions and the potential for conflict. Taken together, the effects of climate change erode people’s traditional safety nets anddiminish the ability of households to survive and recover from disasters.The American Red Cross is intensifying and expanding its support for international disaster risk reduction programs through Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. The International Servicesdepartment of the American Red Cross aims to strengthen household resiliency and build thecapacity of communities around the world to better anticipate, mitigate, prepare for and respondto disasters.Examples of American Red Cross international disaster risk reduction programs include thefollowing: