• How weather forecasts could trigger disaster aid

    Giovanni Ortolani


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The humanitarian impact of climate change is the next big challenge for both local communities and international aid organisations.
Natural disasters hit developing countries hardest, but while the international community can be generous when a disaster makes the headlines, smaller extreme events often slip under the radar.
In this interview, recorded at Earth to Paris, an event in the French capital during the UN’s COP 21 summit, Maarten van Aalst discusses a possible solution to the problem.
Van Aalst, an expert in disaster reduction who runs the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and was a lead author for the latest set of assessment reports produced by UN advisory body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explains how forecast-based finance projects could protect communities by automatically releasing the money they need when disaster risk is elevated, without waiting for the extreme event to happen.
He also sheds light on a new branch of science called ‘attribution of extreme events’ that studies the links between disasters and climate change.