Heatwaves – A Silent Emergency

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Change Centre released a guide for cities to prepare and plan for deadly heatwaves. As climate change continues to increase global temperatures, heatwaves have become a public health crisis. Heatwaves impact city economies, interrupt basic infrastructure systems, and contribute to thousands of human fatalities. The most vulnerable populations include the elderly, infants, pregnant and lactating women, individuals who work outside, and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Europe_2006_Heatwave

Climate projections indicate that if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current pathway, by the year 2100 three out of four people on Earth could be subject to at least 20 days per year of potentially deadly heat and humidity levels. Extreme heat is killing people now and will continue to do so in the future, at an even higher rate, if urgent action is not taken to reduce and adapt to this trend.

The Heatwave Guide for Cities provides a detailed framework and resources for cities to use to plan for extreme heat events. The final chapter discusses urban planning to mitigate future heat risks as the global climate continues to warm.

 

More resources on climate change can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

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