Climate Change: 200 Million Yearly may Need Humanitarian Aid by 2050

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on the launch of a new IFRC report on the future humanitarian cost of climate change - The Cost of Doing Nothing - Press Conference (19 September 2019).

Speakers: Mr. Francesco Rocca, IFRC President and Ms. Julie Arrighi, Red Cross climate expert.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today (19 Sep) launched a new report on the projected humanitarian cost of climate change at UN Headquarters in New York.

During a press encounter, the President of the IFRC, Francesco Rocca, said “our Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers speak of parched landscapes after recurrent droughts, and families’ crops, homes, and livelihoods washed away by floods and cyclones. I hear of violence and communities under threat, of needless deaths during heat waves in major world cities. We are facing a climate crisis and we are experiencing first-hand what does it mean, climate change and its impact on communities, especially on the most poor and vulnerable.”

Rocca said the report “is the first attempt to assess the current and future cost of the humanitarian response to climate related crises,” and “for the first time, we can see just how much worse things could get.”

The new report – The Cost of Doing Nothing – estimates the number of people who may need humanitarian aid over the next 10-30 years as a result of the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards linked to climate change.

The IFRC chief said, “by 2050 200 million people every year could need international humanitarian aid as a result of a cruel combination of climate related disaster and the socioeconomic impact of the climate change,” nearly twice the estimated 108 million people who need help today.

He added that “by 2030, which is only a decade away, this number could increase almost 50 percent.”

Rocca noted that “normally Red Cross Red Crescent is not involved in politics, but here we are not talking about politics.”

He told reporters “here we are talking about facts, here we are talking about science, here we are talking about lives of millions” and added “honestly, I don’t care who believes or not, I feel that it is my duty to work at community level because the people is aware and then after, and this should be everywhere in the world, the political leaders will feel that it is their own responsibility, or they go home.”

The report also estimates the money that aid agencies will need if they are to ensure that these people affected by floods, droughts, storms and wildfires are to receive emergency assistance.

It urges governments and aid agencies to invest now in measures that will protect people from the impacts of climate change; measures that could prevent the suffering of millions of people and save billions of dollars.

To download the full report, visit

Published on Sep 19, 2019

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