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Climate Information Crucial to Help Reduce Risk and Limit Disaster Damage

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Forecasts can play an invaluable role when used properly in helping humanitarian agencies and governments plan for and prevent disasters, according to the latest Climate and Society publication launched by the IRI and the American Red Cross last week in Washington D.C.

Climate and weather disasters, from the massive floods in Pakistan, Australia and Colombia, to the devastating drought in Niger, have claimed thousands of lives and caused billions of dollars in damages in the last year. According to statistics from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, these types of disasters have risen significantly in the last few decades. Scientists expect changes in climate will make extreme events more frequent and intense in the future.

Governments and humanitarian organizations, such as the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are placing greater emphasis on trying to prevent and minimize the impact of disasters by making earlier and better informed decisions ahead of time. The new report, called A Better Climate for Disaster Risk Management, is the latest in the IRI's Climate and Society series. The IRI published the report in partnership with OCHA, IFRC, WFP, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"This is an important report that shows how scientists and practictioners can come together to describe a better recipe for meeting enormous global problems related to climate and the growth of natural disasters," said Jan Egeland during the launch event. Egeland is the Executive Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and co-chair of the High-Level Taskforce for the Global Framework for Climate Services. He is also on the IRI's Board of the Directors. "In my view, far too little is being invested in disaster risk reduction and far too little in climate services," he said. Watch interviews of Jan Egeland and Madeleen Helmer, who is the Director of Policies and Communication at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Read the full news here: http://bit.ly/kr9ALl

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