Red Cross says changing climate worsens disasters
GENEVA (Reuters) - Climate change is making it harder for many people to access clean water and food, and widening the spread of malaria and dengue fever, the world's largest humanitarian aid agency said on Monday.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is asking donors for $292 million per year for 2008 and 2009 to help communities steel themselves for the threats of global warming.
"Response alone is no longer enough," said Markku Niskala, secretary-general of the Swiss-based federation. Health care and disaster management make up 75 percent of the appeal.
The 186 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world pledged at a strategy-setting conference in November to boost aid to those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, a phenomenon scientists have linked to emissions from cars, factories and power plants.
They also agreed to step up disaster preparedness and risk reduction programs, especially for small island states, in delta regions and across Africa, where shifting patterns of weather, rainfall and temperature are expected to be most acute.
(Reporting by Laura MacInnis)