‘51.6mn people doubly hit by climate-linked disasters, Covid-19’

At least 51.6 million people globally have been affected by floods, droughts or storms and also the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) said in a report.

Beside the IFRC, the Red Crescent Societies and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre also contributed to the report released on Wednesday.

“Covid-19 is directly affecting and increasing the needs of persons affected by climate-related disasters,” said the report, which demonstrated the huge scale of combined impacts of climate-related disasters and the pandemic.

The analysis, which quantifies the overlapping vulnerability of communities, showed that out of 132 identified unique extreme weather events that have occurred so far in 2020, 92 have overlapped with the pandemic.

The largest impact disasters of this type have occurred in India and Bangladesh with almost 40 million people across the two countries have been affected by both the pandemic and floods or storms.

The analysis also indicated that at least a further 2.3 million people have been affected by major wildfires and an estimated 437.1 million others in vulnerable groups have been exposed to extreme heat, all while contending with the direct health impacts of Covid-19 or measures implemented to curb its spread.

“The climate crisis has not stopped for Covid-19, and millions of people have suffered from the two crises colliding,” IFRC President Francesco Rocca said.

“We have had absolutely no choice but to address both crises simultaneously.”

“Covid-19 has exposed our vulnerabilities like never before and, as our preliminary analysis shows, compounded suffering for millions of people affected by climate-related disasters,” said Julie Arrighi, climate advisor with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.