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Climate Crisis: 3543 people killed by heatwaves in Europe in 2019  

In Europe, the main climatic risk to life is heatwaves, according to a report released today by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).  

Far more people died from heat-related causes in Europe in 2019 than all other disasters in the area put together and these heatwaves will continue to rise in intensity and frequency in the future.   

The IFRC’s 2020 World Disasters Report, entitled “Come Heat or High Water: Tackling the Humanitarian Impacts of the Climate Crisis Together”, paints a bleak picture about the growing impact of global warning on lives and livelihoods in Europe and around the world.  

To download the report in full, click here Irish Red Cross website. 

A heatwave in June 2019 killed 704 people across France, Belgium, Germany Italy and Spain and this heatwave was made five times more likely due to climate change. Another heatwave just one month later, in July 2019, caused 2,241 deaths across Europe. Top temperatures reached 45°C and this heatwave was made ten times more likely due to climate change.  

On the global stage, the report found that the world’s poorest and most at-risk countries were being hit by climate disasters the hardest, yet they weren’t at the top of the list for climate adaptation funding. Indeed, of the 20 countries assessed as most vulnerable to climate change, and climate and weather-related disasters, not one was ranked among the 20 highest per-person recipients of climate adaptation funding.?  

Speaking about the report, Trevor Holmes, Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, said, “Climate change impacts us all but it doesn’t impact us all equally and time and time again we are seeing that the countries who are hit hardest with climate disasters are also the countries who do not have the resources to cope. Yet climate adaptation funding does not reflect the needs of these areas, where people are experiencing more weather-related crises at a higher frequency than the rest of the world.  

“Covid-19 has shown us just how vulnerable we all are to a global catastrophe but the global response and the Covid-19 stimulus packages that are being developed all over the world will give us an opportunity to build back better, these resources could be used to ensure a greener recovery that helps at-risk communities to become more resilient to future climate and weather-related hazards.”   

To download the report in full, click here Irish Red Cross website. 

Infographics for WDR 2020