Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

Newsletter Issue 22

24/04/2012 - by the Climate Centre


IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Weather Events (SREX)

On 28 March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the full Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Weather Events (SREX). In recent years, extreme weather and climate events have taken many lives and caused billions of dollars in economic losses. Is climate change leading to increases in the number and severity of extreme events? How do social and environmental factors interact with weather and climate events to create disasters? And what can be done to make societies more resilient to extremes?

The report assesses the scientific information on these questions. The print edition is due to be published in mid-May. The report’s 19-page Summary for Policymakers was released in November 2011. The full 592-page report provides detailed evidence underlying the findings highlighted earlier in the summary, complete with graphics, references, glossary and index. In addition, the chapters provide comprehensive detail on the concepts and determinants of disaster risk, an assessment of past and future changes in climate extremes and their impacts at global and regional scales, and a discussion of local- to international-level approaches for managing weather-related risks. Case studies are used to provide valuable insights into best practice and experience.
 

Kenya Red Cross climate adaptation case study

The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) is intensifying its drive to find ways to reinforce the climate-resilience of food supplies in the aftermath of the latest drought that left an estimated 4 million Kenyans food-insecure. The more than 300,000 people of Wajir district in the dry North Eastern Province know all about it – the failure of the short rains at the end of 2010 and the lateness of long rains several months later pushed many to the edge of survival. The area is mainly dependent on livestock, and over the years communities have been impoverished by continual losses of animals. The KRCS is now providing alternative livelihoods in the form of an integrated food-security project that aims to cushion more than 5,000 people in Wajir from water scarcity and food insecurity. The project is a prototype for nearly 30 others countrywide that the KRCS launched after the very successful “Kenyans for Kenya” initiative that raised 10 million dollars in just two months to assist communities affected by drought. In another project in Machakos district, drought-resistant strains of cassava are being developed by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. The Climate Centre went to Kenya to take a look.


IRI/Climate Centre seasonal forecast for April–June is out

Click here for the latest update or visit the Climate Centre home page (Resources on the left menu then Publications).
 

CDKN Asia: facilitating innovative learning and policy dialogue –  delivery at scale in Partners for Resilience

This new Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) project in Asia seeks to utilize opportunities arising from the Netherlands inter-agency Partners for Resilience (PfR) project to derive and utilize evidence-based lessons-learned from PfR experiences to shape policies for scaling-up community resilience-building. This meets an urgent policy demand for practice-based guidance and tools to enable climate-smart disaster risk reduction at the local level. Through this project, the Partners for Resilience, and especially its Indonesia and Philippines country teams, aim to contribute to expressed policy demands, utilizing their locally-grounded experience to advance local, national, regional and international policy and practice. The Partners for Resilience programme is a natural fit with CDKN’s climate-related disaster risk management and resilience theme, especially the emphasis on replicating and scaling up best or “good enough” practice. While the base funding for Partners for Resilience is mainly directed at implementation (see previous Newsletters), the collaboration with CDKN enables a much more ambitious learning and policy process as an add-on to the PfR.  It will produce results that will support decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development. Some of the key deliverables are:

  • Developing and documenting minimum standards for climate-smart community resilience.
  • Policy briefs on minimum-standards development and evolving tools in an evolving climate for regional and international conferences, such as the 4th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) and conferences of the parties to the UNFCCC.
  • Films for learning and dissemination on how to adapting existing participatory toolkits for community risk assessments.
  • Games development for enabling dialogues between communities, climate information providers, government and humanitarian or development actors.
  • Global dissemination of PfR experiences through media cases.

For more information please contact Knud Falk at falk@climatecentre.org.


Analysis of Climate Centre website visits

Last January we did a small survey of visits to our website and we came to some interesting conclusions. We have a broad coverage of viewers, although there is a dominance of visits generated by wealthier countries with India as the only developing country in the top 10. We hope and expect to generate a better proportion of usage in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean once we launch the Climate Training Kit, due later this year. The Young Scholars page is our most visited page outside of the home page itself. Most visitors are interested in our newsletter and who we are, commanding almost 40 per cent of the total of 20,000 visits.
 

Tenth anniversary of the Climate Centre

Since its establishment on 28 June 2002, the Climate Centre has been instrumental in raising awareness about the humanitarian consequences of climate change – at that time a completely new issue – within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. In the global community the Climate Centre was in those days among the few pioneers who advocated for climate change adaptation (CCA) policies and resources, and it has successfully claimed a humanitarian role in international climate negotiations. From that position, the Climate Centre was a key actor in the process of harmonizing disaster risk reduction (DRR) and CCA policies at global level, including the growing focus on resilience and “climate-smart” development. The Climate Centre also helped shape the research agenda on these topics, and had a key role in the recently released Special Report on Managing Extreme Events by the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, while it often gets recognized primarily for its global policy work, the Climate Centre’s first priority has been to support the translation of abstract climate science and policies into concrete action, facilitating the integration of climate-risk management into the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Red Crescent. The Climate Guide, produced for its fifth anniversary in 2007, was one of the first of its kind and was helpful for practitioners worldwide; it has been followed by several practical guidance notes. Over sixty National Societies in developing countries participated in the Preparedness for Climate Change programme to assess how climate risks could be factored in to their programmes. In parallel, the Climate Centre team conducted or supported countless trainings and presentations. Internship programmes the Climate Centre has brokered with prestigious academic institutions have provided useful insights and capacity building, and are attracting young talent to the Red Cross Red Crescent and the wider humanitarian community. Many National Societies have now developed programmes that have successfully integrated climate-risk management, often accessing new sources of funding previously not available to the Movement.

Still, after ten years, the spirit of pioneering and looking for smart ways to address climate related risks has not left the work of the Climate Centre.  One example on the science side is the climate risk map room and helpdesk, developed with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), including weather forecasts in context, as well as seasonal forecasts of rainfall in the coming three to six months. These are important tools in a climate that brings rising risks and rising uncertainties, and help strengthen the operational continuum between longer-term disaster risk reduction and disaster response (early warning early action).  Recognizing that neither awareness raising or science alone are enough to trigger action on the ground, the Climate Centre has also been investing in innovative tools to communicate the ways climate risks can be integrated into practical decision-making. This includes participatory video, and the development of climate risk management games, again developed in partnership with centres of excellence in this area. Successful examples include local communities in Senegal; dialogue between Red Cross Red Crescent staff and their counterparts in meteorological services; engagement with ministers in the corridors of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and meetings in the boardroom of the Rockefeller Foundation. All this aims to strengthen the resilience of people and communities facing increased extreme weather events because of accelerating climate change. 

The Climate Centre is supporting National Societies in engaging in policy dialogue on the humanitarian consequences of climate change, emphasizing the needs of the most vulnerable people, and the key role of civil society in implementing adaptation. 

Normally a birthday is celebrated with a big party where all friends are invited. However the Climate Centre prefers to do it the other way around: in this festive year, its director Maarten van Aalst and founder Madeleen Helmer will visit National Societies and give an update on its activities and plans for the future, and to hear their views on them. 


Sixth International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA6) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, 16–22 April

This conference was aimed at sharing knowledge about how communities are adapting to climate change and brought together stakeholders and practitioners to discuss knowledge of planning for and practice of community-based adaptation. It helped capture new learning and good practice from developing countries, and integrated lessons-learned into national and international development programmes to enhance capacity and improve the livelihoods and disseminated them through conference communications, proceedings and in a timely summary. Pablo Suarez, the Climate Centre’s Associate Director of Programmes, was interviewed by Adam Groves of OneWorld about Red Cross Red Crescent experiences on bridging scientific knowledge for practitioners in climate change affected communities. Click here to view the interview.  Pablo’s session at the CBA6 was aimed at facilitating learning and dialogue through experiential methods: What consequences at the community level do humanitarian decisions based on climate information (or the lack of it) have? The session was not a conventional PowerPoint presentation but an innovative participatory game session. Click here for a full explanation of the session.


Updated guidance note: “How can climate change be considered in vulnerability and capacity assessments?”

The Climate Centre’s informal guidance note on how climate change be considered in vulnerability and capacity assessments (VCAs) has been used widely by National Societies in their efforts to incorporate climate change in the tools they apply to community-based programmes, and has also served as inspiration to a range of other organizations. The guidance note is a living document and there is now an updated version available here.


Participatory games for learning and dialogue: new developments

Well-designed games, like climate-risk management measures, involve decisions with consequences. Participatory games can be designed to capture core aspects of the relationship between people and natural hazards, so that simple rules can set in motion a game-play experience on humanitarian work, filled with variety, novelty and surprise. Through games we can learn how systems work, and the game-based system rewards us as we learn. Players inhabit, enliven and interpret these systems through play, and can engage in learning and dialogue that’s also fun.

The Climate Centre is scaling up its work on participatory games for climate-risk management through a variety of initiatives, including:

  • A research project on games for forecast-based humanitarian decisions, funded by the CDKN Innovation Fund. Fifteen masters and PhD students have been selected to support game-related climate work in Africa over the coming months.
  • Collaboration with the American Red Cross and the Parsons School for Design to create games on flood risks in the Zambezi River.
  • A two-day event, held at the Boston University Pardee Center in March, will lead to a short video and a publication, “Games for a New Climate”.
  • A book chapter in preparation for Earthscan will share five case studies where participatory games were designed and facilitated to support experiential learning on community-based adaptation.
  • Numerous workshops, training sessions and other events are now incorporating the almost 20 participatory games designed through the Climate Centre. We will create a web tool to support dissemination and use of these games.

Contact Pablo Suarez for more information at suarez@climatecentre.org.


Geoengineering: what if humans deliberately manipulated our planet’s climate?

As the global climate continues to change, a new and quite radical idea is gaining traction among some who fear, legitimately, that the impacts of our continuing global carbon-emissions could soon be disastrous. This technical fix, often called “geoengineering”, proposes to intentionally modify our climate system to moderate dangerous climate change. Methods like bouncing sunlight through the dispersion of sulfur particles in the upper atmosphere can cool the planet (just like volcanic eruptions have temporarily lowered our planet’s temperature in the past). Of course, geoengineering could also change regional and local patterns of wind and rainfall in ways that are nearly impossible to predict.

The Climate Centre is actively engaged in the rapidly growing discussions on geoengineering, highlighting the humanitarian dimensions of this complex issue – particularly raising questions about the possible implications for the most vulnerable. An upcoming volume, entitled The Geoengineering of our Climate: Science, Ethics and Governance, will include a chapter on humanitarian dimensions authored by Pablo Suarez. A previous piece by Maarten van Aalst and Pablo Suarez was referenced in an article recently published in the journal Development and Change and entitled Geoengineering: Re-making Climate for Profit or Humanitarian Intervention?

Contact Pablo Suarez for more information at suarez@climatecentre.org.


Strengthening the resilience of people living in high-risk urban and semi-urban areas to weather-related disasters

Malawi has experienced a number of adverse climatic hazards over the past few decades. Mozambique is one of the Southern African countries most prone to disasters . Both have limited capacity and abilities to cope with climatic events. A new project will target informal settlements in cities and semi-urban settings located along the coastline or in lakeshore areas, namely Beira in Mozambique and Salima-Boma in Malawi. Climate change-related emergencies and/or disasters are more destructive in urban areas as there is a greater concentration of people, buildings and infrastructure. These communities are particularly vulnerable to extreme events such as flash floods, river floods and cyclones, and in Beira to rises in sea level. In both cities the urban poor, especially those living in unsafe slums, are most at risk. The Climate Centre is working with the Red Cross of Finland, Malawi, and Mozambique to address this issue. Read more here or go to the Climate Centre home page, then from the left menu click Activities, then Mozambique and Malawi.
 

Flood-risk management in the Zambezi River Basin Initiative: participatory games for learning and dialogue with communities

The IPCC report on extreme events says “measures that provide benefits under current climate and a range of future climate change scenarios,” including early warning systems, are starting points for addressing projected trends in climate extremes. From short-term storm forecasts to long-term climate trends, organizations working at the community level have significant ability to anticipate threats to people at risk. At the same time, the complexity and range of decisions that could be made by people at risk and by the organizations serving them is rapidly expanding, owing to progress in obtaining, processing and using information. We can produce and disseminate information and ideas useful to communities on an unprecedented scale. Yet, exacerbation of the climate problem continues to outpace implementation of community-based risk reduction.

What can be done to improve, promote and scale-up risk management thinking and action on the ground? While VCA methodology enables Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers to elicit information and ideas from communities, the American Red Cross has identified the need for a shorter, more agile and narrowly-defined participatory approach to engage communities in ongoing projects involving specific interventions (such as flood-risk management).

An innovative partnership between the American Red Cross, the Climate Centre and the Parsons School of Design, is developing participatory games to be integrated into ongoing community-level flood-risk management work in the Zambezi region of southern Africa.

For more information contact Pablo Suarez at suarez@climatecentre.org.


The Netherlands Partners for Resilience (PfR): a new experience in Nicaragua

Last February, six communities near Somoto, Nicaragua experienced the power of games as a fun and effective way to promote learning and about climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and sound ecosystem management. In each of the six communities, encircled by neighbours and friends, 12 community members took their places around a board and played a game in which the winners were those players able to grow their crops, protect their assets, and feed their families at the end of each round, all while managing the risk of floods and drought, represented by dice. The game was a simplified version of the reality these players live day to day, yet the dialogue that followed play was rich with observations about the players’ risk-management strategies during the game, and the actions and consequences of similar decisions they make everyday in the much more complex context of real life. The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, as part of PfR, is exploring ways to use games in Nicaragua and Guatemala as innovative tools to convey what are often complex and confusing concepts in fun, engaging, and easy-to-understand formats. As a next step, the Climate Centre will collaborate with local PfR partners to further refine and roll out this risk management game. In addition, the Climate Centre will team up with a professional Nicaraguan video production company to capture on film the process of game play, the discussion and learning that results, and the enthusiasm and fun that this form of learning evokes in all players involved.

For more information please contact Carina Bachofen at bachofen@climatecentre.org.


Participatory video training in Katakwim, Uganda

In February 2012, ten PfR field delegates travelled to Katakwi, Uganda from around Africa to learn how to help farmers become filmmakers, during a five-day participatory video training hosted by the Climate Centre. After two days of initial training in video techniques and participatory video facilitation, trainees traveled to a Uganda Red Cross Society field site and began introducing video documentation techniques to community members. Despite never having held video cameras, community members quickly learned basic techniques and began scripting their own films around changes in the climate and dry-season fire risks in their community. In just one and a half days, the filming process was complete and trainees began editing the footage collected by the community filmmakers. On the last day of the video training, the completed films were screened in the community, with a large crowd of community members looking on in amazement and awe at the work of their peers. The PfR trainees, representing a variety of countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal and Mali, reported that the participatory video process significantly built their own video production capacity and that they were keen to begin their own projects in their country of work.

For more information contact Julie Arrighi at arrighi@climatecentre.org.


South-East European Forum on Climate Change Adaptation

Civil society organizations in the South-East European (SEE) region, including the Red Cross societies of Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia,  joined forces to enhance cross-sector cooperation in the field of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The SEE Forum on Climate Change Adaptation aims to increase awareness of humanitarian, socio-economic, environmental and health impacts of climate change and to foster joint initiatives to address climate change with international, regional and national stakeholders. South-East Europe is highly vulnerable to climate change. According to the IPCC, the most recent climate modelling available shows an increase in annual temperature in Europe of 0.1°C to 0.4°C per decade over the 21st century based on a range of scenarios and models. It is likely that the seasonality of precipitation will change and the frequency of intense-precipitation events will increase, especially in winter. The IPCC notes a very likely increase in the intensity and frequency of summer heatwaves throughout Europe. The civil society networks have started writing Climate Vulnerability Analyses (CVA) for their respective countries. Read more about the first findings of these analyses, regional staff meetings, national advocacy trainings and local news in the third newsletter of the forum at www.seeclimateforum.org.

For more information about the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance project and the activities of the national civil society networks, please visit the project website or contact Sonja Greiner (Austrian Red Cross programme manager, South-East Europe) at sonja.greiner@redcross.at


Climate-smart disaster risk reduction for the 21st century: the Netherlands Red Cross Pledge Project looks back

The Netherlands Pledge Project was born in 2007. At its core was a pledge to assist National Societies in three countries suffering climatic impacts – Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia – to combine disaster risk reduction with climate change adaptation. Its educational component included life-size board games. To help people most affected by disasters, the Pledge Project wanted to achieve three objectives that are encapsulated in the words knowledge, action and capacity. Knowledge means people learn about climate change and variability and their impact on human well-being. This includes knowledge of long-term climate trends and phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña. It’s important because if, for example, Indonesian villagers know that storm surges are likely to increase in frequency and intensity, they may not cut down protective vegetation for fuel or sale. Action means communities develop the skills and the capacities needed to confront disaster, especially when hazards are related to climate. A Colombian village that often experiences floods will need a contingency plan and systems that warn people when to evacuate. Finally, building capacity means National Societies will learn how to mobilize communities and other stakeholders to address climate-related disaster risk. In Ethiopia, the Red Cross effectively mobilized communities through the innovative use of audiovisual material and worked hand in hand with the local authorities to implement Pledge activities. The Netherlands government and Red Cross saw Pledge as a pilot from which we hoped to learn valuable lessons about the reduction of climate-related disaster risk. These lessons may help a wider group of actors within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement as a whole, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the DRR and CCA community, and other humanitarian and development agencies. Download a new retrospective leaflet here or contact Bruno Haghebaert of the Netherlands Red Cross for more information at bhaghebaert@redcross.nl.
 

From idea to reality – considering climate change in each community action plan in the Solomon Islands
 
The Solomon Islands Red Cross documented their concerns about the humanitarian implications of climate change in their country during their involvement in the Preparedness for Climate Change programme. They then included their desire to address these challenges in their Strategy 2010-2015 by stating one of their goals as the need to ‘support the development of safe, peaceful & cohesive communities and enable successful adaptation to changing environments’. To act upon this desire to incorporate considering climate change in regular community based work, the National Society's Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Officer, Cameron Vudi, worked on a pilot project on Pileni Island in remote Temotu province, to determine which additional questions they would need to ask in their 'vulnerability and capacity assessments' (VCA’s) to ensure that climate change was being considered and addressed in community risk reduction action plans. The process was documented in a case study.

Recently, the National Society took this one step further thanks to support from the ‘Together Becoming Resilient Project’, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian’s Aid Office and the French Red Cross.In the revision of its standard VCA, the National Society considered its practical experiences on dealing with climate change at the community level. Techniques include making a 'present' seasonal calendar and then comparing it to a 'past' seasonal calendar. Questions are also included in focus group discussions, risk mapping and historical profiling, ensuring that climate change is considered along side, but not separate to, other issues faced by communities. A 'learning by doing' VCA training for branch officers was undertaken in Guadalcanal in January 2012 and as a result the revised methods are now used more frequently and enabled the National Society to ensure that people's concerns in relation to climate change are considered across the National Societies programmes. Examples include in the ‘Together for Healthy Communities’ project, as well as in a partnership with Oxfam on disaster risk reduction. At the conclusion of the ‘Together Becoming Resilient’ project there will be a lessons learnt workshop with Vanuatu Red Cross on the practical roll out of the methodology in order to finalize a handbook suited for the context of the both countries. 

For more information contact Bec McNaught at mcnaught@climatecentre.org.


Unwrapping resilience: a workshop on resilience in The Hague

A PfR workshop on resilience took place in The Hague in the first week of March, including a public debate at Humanity House in The Hague. The main objective of the workshop was to get a deeper understanding of the concept of resilience and discuss further operationalization in the context of the alliance. Several experts, including one of the world’s leading authorities on the resilience, John Twigg, from University College London, were invited to update the participants with the latest thinking. Other participants from Uganda, Indonesia and India also shared their views on how resilience looks in practice. The workshop was viewed as a great success and a first important step in the drafting of a vision document on resilience, which will be shared with PfR country teams for their input. Updates regarding further development in thinking on resilience at country level are warmly welcome. Go here for the workshop report.
 

New summer internships

The Climate Centre has engaged several masters students to work with Red Cross Red Crescent partners in the DRR field. They will carry out research this coming summer that investigates the interface between climate information and humanitarian action. Innovative research topics include:

  • Drought and changing livelihoods in the Horn of Africa: disaster risk reduction policies and their effects on women.
  • Evaluation of PfR project baselines and monitoring and implications for future areas of project engagement.
  • Links between climate and hidden crises in Southern Africa: local risk perceptions and the role of DRR.
  • Rainfall forecasts in Malawi: verification and exploration of potential sources of predictability.
  • Learning from past disasters: data visualization and statistical analysis of the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) and Red Cross Red Crescent appeals from 2003 –2011.

For more information take a look at our Young Scholars page or contact Erin Coughlan at Coughlan@climatecentre.org.


Research opportunity for graduate students in climate-risk management

Through a new call of proposals, the Climate Centre, START and UNISDR are seeking to support graduate students whose research projects have synergies with our collective project, entitled “Forecast-based humanitarian decisions: designing tools and processes to link knowledge with action”.  The action research project is a joint undertaking, supported by CDKN. We aim to improve knowledge about how climate threats and risks should be taken into account to improve humanitarian decisions, i.e. routinely taking humanitarian action before a disaster or health emergency happens, making full use of scientific information on all timescales. The goal of the project is to embed science into humanitarian work by creating tools for smart forecast-based decisions and by managing climate risks and promoting effective responses for development and adaptation. The project will focus on Africa and invites individual or group application from graduate students that are interested in improving the prospects for climate resilience across sectors, time scales, and spatial scales of decision making. Read more about the practicalities of this call for proposals on our Young Scholars page.
 

New fellowship agreement with the Trieste-based TWAS Academy of Sciences for the Developing World

In February 2012, the Climate Centre and the TWAS Academy of Sciences for the Developing World signed a cooperation agreement to establish three joint fellowship programmes.  A total of up to 15 fellowships will be offered per year to citizens of developing countries for linking knowledge with humanitarian work: up to twelve postgraduate fellowships for PhD students in natural or social sciences, one post-doctoral fellowship and up to two visiting-scholars fellowships. The Climate Centre, TWAS and START.org will be responsible for the implementation of these fellowships in the departments and laboratories of Africa-based academic and humanitarian partners of the Red Cross Red Crescent. At present, due to the quantity of students already applying to work with us, the fellowships will be offered by invitation only to universities that are already partners of the Climate Centre. We welcome expressions of interest from professors in Africa-based universities who would like to align the academic requirements of their students with the climate risk management needs and opportunities of the Red Cross Red Crescent.

For more information, please contact suarez@climatecentre.org.
 

Climate Asia: research on communicating climate change by the BBC

Climate Asia is a two-year initiative of BBC Media Action, funded by the UK Department for International Development, which aims to identify ways in which communications can be used to strengthen climate change responses across the region. Working in seven countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam – Climate Asia will include a survey of over 27,000 people. This will be the largest ever exploration of public knowledge and attitudes towards climate change in the region. The Climate Centre has been contributing to the project on the advisory committee and through responding to the survey and encourage more people to have their say. If you would like to share your experiences on communicating climate change, please get in touch with Gudrun Freese at gudrun@bbcmediaaction.org or visit the project’s website here (or click Where we work at bbc.co.uk/mediaaction).


Peer-reviewed journal article on use of seasonal forecasts to guide disaster management in 2008 West Africa floods

A peer-reviewed article on seasonal forecasts and the 2008 West Africa flood disaster by Arame Tall and other Climate Centre, IRI and IFRC personnel appeared in the International Journal of Geophysics. The article recalled that in 2008, a seasonal forecast for West Africa announced a high risk of above-normal rainfall for the July–September rainy season. When this information reached the IFRC West and Central Africa zone office, it led to significant changes in the organization’s response. The regional office requested funds in advance of anticipated floods, prepositioned disaster-relief items in strategic locations across West Africa to benefit up to 9,500 families, updated its contingency plans, and alerted vulnerable communities and decision-makers across the region. This forecast-based preparedness resulted in a decrease in the number of lives, property, and livelihoods lost to floods, compared to the year before when similar floods claimed at least 300 lives in the region.

 

If you have questions about climate in your location, or simply want more information about climate change or forecasting, we would be happy to help. Please email your question to: ifrc@iri.columbia.edu.

 

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