IFRC, C40 Cities urge cities, residents to prepare for more deadly heatwaves

International Federation of Red Cross, partners launching first global Heat Action Day

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFCR) is mobilizing branches and partners in more than 50 cities around the world Tuesday to raise awareness about ways to reduce the severe effects of extreme heat.

The IFRC is partnering with C40 Cities to launch its first global Heat Action Day to urge city officials, urban planners and residents in every region to prepare for more dangerous and deadly heat waves ahead of the summer months.

C40 Cities is a network of nearly 100 mayors who are collaborating to bring action to confront climate change.

“Cities that are used to hot weather need to prepare for even longer periods of sweltering heat and cooler cities need to prepare for levels of extreme heat that they are not accustomed to,” said Executive Director of C40 Cities Mark Watts in a joint statement. “From Miami to Mumbai and Athens to Abidjan, mayors in our network are increasing green spaces, expanding cool roof programmes and collaborating on heat actions to improve resilience to rising urban heat. But far more work is needed to reduce and manage risks as the climate crisis worsens.”

The statement cited that between 2015 and 2021, the hottest period has been recorded and 2022 is already proving to be punishing.

“The life-threatening temperature spikes seen in recent months across India, Pakistan, East Asia and southern Europe and this week’s unusually intense, early-season heatwave gripping parts of the United States are an ominous sign of what is to come as the world gets warmer,” it said.

Regarding the threat posed by increasingly scorching temperatures, it said: “Those most at risk are already vulnerable–the elderly and isolated, infants, pregnant women, those with pre-existing ailments and the urban poor, who often work outdoors or live and work in buildings without air conditioning or adequate ventilation.”

It added that deaths from heatwaves are not inevitable, stressing “Five billion people live in places that are prone to heat waves and where early warning systems can predict them before they happen.”​​​​​​​

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