Hellenic Red Cross acts ahead of extreme heat in Greece

Hellenic Red Cross acts ahead of extreme heat in Greece
11 June 2024

By the Climate Centre

(A version of this story appeared first on the Anticipation Hub earlier today.)

The Hellenic Red Cross activated its simplified early action protocol (EAP) for extreme heat last weekend, triggered by a National Observatory of Athens forecast of scorching temperatures across Greece.

Red Cross teams will now carry out anticipatory actions to help some 2,000 people cope, including bottled water, isotonic drinks, food and sun cream for the homeless and other vulnerable groups; checks on homeless people and on others at markets and with house-to-house visits aimed at the elderly and those with chronic illnesses; and collecting community feedback to improve future activations.

The Red Cross will also share advice on the health risks of extreme heat through TV coverage, social media and face-to-face outreach, in multiple languages.

The actions will take place in Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Patra throughout this week, depending on further notifications from the National Observatory of Athens.

Hotter summer?

IFRC-DREF provided 66,200 euros from its anticipatory pillar to support the interventions after the trigger threshold was reached.

The relevant EAP was first approved in October 2023 and since then the National Society has been preparing for its activation by training volunteers, pre-positioning relief supplies, and developing standard operating procedures.

The Hellenic Red Cross, the IFRC and the National Observatory took part in a three-hour simulation last month after the observatory forecast a hotter summer this year.

Agnes Rajacic, IFRC Project Manager at the Europe Regional Office, said: “Early action is planting a seed for tomorrow. We are glad to participate in a simulation that addresses the needs of vulnerable people in advance of a heatwave in Greece.”

The Hellenic Red Cross last year undertook similar interventions amid near Europe-wide extreme heat, accompanied by wildfires in many places.

An IFRC climate road-map for Europe was discussed at a Red Cross climate champions’ meeting in Athens – a city that is showcasing its work on early warning for heatwaves as part of a joint project by the International Federation and the Hellenic Red Cross.

Red Cross teams are carrying out anticipatory actions to help some 2,000 people cope with impact of the latest heatwave to affect the country. (Photo: Hellenic Red Cross)