Interview de Maarten K. Van Aalst, Directorv of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Climate change is one of the greatest health threats of the next century, increasing the risk of many health problems that we already face today, and that will worsen, especially for the most vulnerable groups.
In order to better address these growing risks, we also need to change as an organization. We need to improve our collaboration with scientists and academics. One of the roles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre, which is to collaborate with all National Societies (IFRC and ICRC), is to do exactly that.
Urban heat waves are one of the most significant and growing risks associated with climate change. It is a real scourge… Thousands, even tens of thousands of people die every year. This is a phenomenon that is not well known, particularly in many rapidly growing megacities, particularly in developing countries.
The solutions are often quite simple. It is about having early warning systems that inform of the arrival of heat waves and very simply recommend that people protect themselves from heat, and that elderly people, for example, drink enough water during these periods. National Societies can play a very important role here, as they need volunteers from these communities to share this information.
The Indian Red Cross, for example, has been very innovative in this regard: it has even organized flash mobs, such as at Delhi airport, to raise public awareness of this growing risk.
Intervention during the conference:
14:00 – 16:00 Workshops : Adapting to heat waves in urban areas