5th January 2021

Asia-Pacific has faced a record number of climate-related disasters in 2020, affecting tens of millions of vulnerable people already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross said recently.


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it had responded to 24 climate-linked crises this year in the world's most disaster-prone region - up from 18 in 2019 - including floods, typhoons, extreme cold and drought.


"COVID-19 has of course aggravated these impacts, with a taste of the compound shocks we're expecting in a changing climate," sad Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.


"The pandemic has not only complicated evacuations and disaster response, but also aggravates the economic impact of disasters, especially for the poorest people," he added.


Southeast Asia was the IFRC's busiest region in 2020, with 15 emergency responses to disasters including severe floods, storms and landslides in the Philippines and Vietnam that affected more than 31 million people.


Jess Letch, the IFRC's emergency operations manager, said the challenge had been to help communities with relief aid while also taking the steps needed to halt the spread of COVID-19.

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