A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change “mega disaster”, the United Nation’s emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.
Sir John, a British diplomat who is also known as the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.
“We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest. That’s why we’re trying … to say, of course you’ve got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already,” he said.
As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John – has issued 13 emergency “flash” appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.
Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by Ocha had anything to do with the climate; this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related. “And 2007 is not finished. We will certainly have more by the end of the year, I fear,” added Sir John, who is in charge of channelling international relief efforts to disaster areas.