20 September 2019
A new report by the world’s largest humanitarian network warns that the number of people needing humanitarian assistance every year as a result of climate-related disasters could double by 2050.
The Cost of Doing Nothing, published today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) (available to download below), estimates that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of storms, droughts and floods could climb beyond 200 million annually – compared to an estimated 108 million today.
It further suggests that this rising human toll would come with a huge financial price tag, with climate-related humanitarian costs ballooning to US$20 billion per year by 2030, in the most pessimistic scenario.
Speaking in New York, in the run-up to the UN Climate Action Summit, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said, “These findings confirm the impact that climate change is having, and will continue to have, on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. It also demonstrates the strain that increasing climate-related disasters could place on aid agencies and donors.
“The report shows the clear and frightening cost of doing nothing. But it also shows there is a chance to do something. But now is the time to take urgent action. By investing in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction, including through efforts to improve early warning and anticipatory humanitarian action, the world can avoid a future marked by escalating suffering and ballooning humanitarian response costs."