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When Rains Turn to Dust: ICRC climate change report

Twelve of the twenty countries most vulnerable to climate change are in conflict (see the ND-Gain Index). These countries are disproportionately impacted by extreme weather events and climate change, which results in disruption to business and food production and amplifies disease.
 
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) climate change report calls for stakeholders, governments and the humanitarian sector to ensure that climate action and finance are reaching the most vulnerable in conflict zones. The report focuses on research in Iraq, Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) to share the stories of those experiencing armed conflict, climate risks and environmental degradation.
 
For many, the consequences of conflict and the climate crisis results in food, water and economic security being threatened. This forces families and entire communities to adapt or be displaced to save their lives or livelihoods, which undermines  their personal safety and stability, social networks, and a sense of community.
 
In the CAR, tensions have arisen between farmers from changing internal and cross-border movement. In Iraq, poor quality and availability of water have resulted in a loss of capacity to maintain essential infrastructure. In Mali, extreme weather events are disrupting communities and individual’s capacity to cope. The impacts of the intersection between conflict and climate change is evidenced in many circumstances.
 
An aerial view of dry farmland

 
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement works internationally to reduce risks and respond to disasters and crisis. This includes encouraging an  integrated public health approach to include safe access for water, food, shelter, and essential services to those who are affected.
 
The ICRC is adapting to respond to the climate crisis in a way that is climate-sensitive.  Humanitarian organisations must work together to respond with adequate resources and expertise to climate change and conflict. This includes anticipating risks, strengthening resilience, mobilizing climate action, reducing their own environmental footprint and ensuring institutional readiness.
 
You can read the report in full here: When Rain Turns to Dust. These stories are only a glimpse into the lives of people impacted by the combination of armed conflict and the climate and environment crisis in CAR, southern Iraq, and northern Mali.
 
In Yemen, heavy rains have brought torrential floods to the war-stricken country. Climate change has resulted in an increase in the spread of seasonal and waterborne diseases. Areas already impacted by the ongoing violence, including displacements camps in the southern governorates, are especially impacted with the loss of tents and belongings to flash floods. The ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent Society have helped more than 130,000 people affected by the floods, in addition to their ongoing work to support those impact by conflict. Those interested in supporting the Red Cross response in Yemen can donate through the Canadian Red Cross here.
 
The Canadian Red Cross works with communities, both in Canada and abroad, to respond to and reduce the risks of extreme weather events. The Red Cross continues to review how the organisation can further support climate action and make Red Cross responses greener
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