Climate change causes extreme weather events to happen more often. These can lead to disasters. Poor countries are hit especially hard. The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) is stepping up its commitment to help the most vulnerable people better prepare themselves for disasters.
Climate change is making disasters worse
Flooding, landslides, drought, hurricanes and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more destructive as a result of climate change.
As many as 97% of the deaths from natural disasters are in developing countries. Every year, more than 200 million people worldwide are affected by natural disasters.
The poorest are the hardest hit
People living in poverty often live in badly constructed housing and in high-risk areas because they cannot afford to move elsewhere. They are also unable to prepare themselves for danger. When disaster strikes, they lose their livelihoods. Even their health suffers. In most cases, they have no insurance or savings.
Disasters hinder development
Countries and regions at highest risk are often so overwhelmed by managing disasters that they are unable to advance their development and fight poverty.
We aim to better protect people living in high-risk areas. We increase their resilience to the elements. Especially when natural disasters are recurrent, people need to be properly prepared and know how to react and protect themselves.
The SRC is working on disaster preparedness in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And by doing so, we are supporting the SDGs ‘Zero poverty’, ‘Sustainable cities and communities’, and ‘Climate action’.
What we do
Prevention is better than cure. Natural disasters cause less damage and suffering if people have the resources and knowledge to prepare for them. This is where the SRC’s three-step disaster preparedness comes in.
In partnership with local communities, the Red Cross identifies natural hazards and risks that threaten human lives. Communities draw up their own hazard maps to show which areas of their region are in danger and which ones are safe. Then escape routes and safe places are marked out.
GOOD TO KNOW
Preventing economic damage
The financial losses from disasters amount to more than CHF 250 billion a year worldwide. Every franc invested in disaster preparedness is saved many times over by limiting damage.
The SRC builds flood- and storm-resistant infrastructure. Resistant water supply systems, health centres and community centres ensure that future disasters are less damaging. Building earthquake-resistant houses and stabilizing sloping land also helps to make communities safer.
The SRC helps to educate communities through schools. Pupils know the meaning of disaster preparedness and adapting to climate change. The SRC also teaches about health and hygiene. Communities that have a healthy diet and live in hygienic conditions are more likely to resist hardship.
The SRC helps set up village committees in high-risk communities and connects them with the public authorities.
Being prepared for future disasters also means having local response teams in place for first aid and rescue operations. These teams are given the training they need. Their role is to draw up emergency and evacuation plans. They rehearse the emergency operation with the community and take charge if a disaster strikes.
Lives are saved when communities know what to do. The SRC also helps set up early warning systems that enable people to get to safety in time.
Our achievements over the past year
The SRC improved disaster preparedness in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
are protected by early warning systems set up by the SRC in partnership with local communities.
were supported by the SRC. They play an essential role in protecting the local community from natural hazards.
Insights into our projects
Where we help
The SRC supports disaster preparedness in 11 countries worldwide in partnership with other national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
In Kyrgyzstan, I saw how effective simple stabilization measures can be. Disaster preparedness spares so many people suffering and anxiety.
Dominique Gisin, Olympic skiing champion and SRC ambassador