Prepare now for extreme heat, says Red Cross in appeal to governments worldwide
The Red Cross is calling on governments to prepare for extreme heat. The aid organization is advocating for implementing measures now, saying that extreme heat is no longer at arm's length. "If we don't adapt, we can expect an unprecedented increase in death rates from that heat in the coming years," said Fleur Monasso, program manager at the Red Cross Climate Center in The Hague.
Earlier this week, a study was published that showed that more than 61,000 people died as a result of the heat during the European summer last year. If nothing is done to protect people from rising temperatures, about 68,000 people will die from heat each summer in Europe by 2030, the researchers estimated.
That number will continue to increase in subsequent years.
Currently it is also very hot in parts of Europe. Last week was the hottest week on record globally, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and June was the warmest June to date. It will be sweltering hot in the south of Europe the next few days, and the mercury can rise above 45 degrees in Italy and Spain.
“Heat waves are already among the deadliest natural disasters we are facing worldwide,” said Monasso. "Climate change also significantly increases the probability, intensity, frequency and duration of heat waves." The Red Cross is therefore calling on governments worldwide to take action.
The Red Cross also made a number of recommendations. They said it would be wise for governments to invest in local heat plans and greener cities with more trees, parks and shady areas. Extra attention should also be paid to the most vulnerable population groups, such as the elderly, the chronically ill and young children. These groups must be informed in advance if a heat wave is imminent.
People who work outside should be able to start their daily tasks earlier in the day, and have sufficient water points and breaks, the Red Cross said as an example.
Reporting by ANP