Lima, Peru- The devastation being wrought by typhoon Hagupit must break the stranglehold of complacency that has gripped the first week of climate negotiations at COP 20 in Lima, Peru said international relief organization Oxfam.
In each of the past three years, a major typhoon has decimated parts of the Philippines as climate negotiators work to forge an agreement. Recent scientific studies show that all weather events are now linked to the changing climate conditions, making storms like Hagupit more frequent and severe. A November report released by Oxfam showed that that Asia is highly vulnerable to increasingly severe and frequent weather extremes and woefully underprepared to manage growing crises. The report showed that climate extremes could stop Asian growth and poverty reduction in their tracks. In 2013, 78 percent of people killed by disasters lived in Asia even though only 43% of global disasters occurred there. Over the past 20 years, Asia has borne almost half the estimated global economic cost of disasters triggered by natural phenomena, amounting to almost $53 billion USD annually.
“My country is under water, farms have been wiped away, homes destroyed, families separated,” said, Shubert Ciencia, of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and a member of Oxfam’s team in Lima. “The images of Hagupit should reverberate throughout the halls of the Lima climate conference. Nobody should have to live under the threat of destruction year after year. But we want action, not pity. Negotiators have a chance to make history by standing up for those who have already lost so much and the millions more who will suffer the same fate unless we act now.”
Many families are still struggling to recover from typhoon Haiyan, often living in inadequate shelter that cannot withstand significant winds and rain, and living in deeper poverty because of on-going difficulties in fully resuming normal daily activities. Oxfam is working closely with its own staff on the ground as well as government and humanitarian partners to respond to humanitarian needs. Oxfam urged negotiators to recognize the typhoon as an indication of the urgency of their work in Lima.
“There is no better example than Typhoon Hagupit of the need to slash emissions and prepare the most vulnerable communities for the dramatic shifts in weather brought on by climate change,” said Celine Charveriat, Director of Campaigns for Oxfam. “Lima began with renewed momentum after a year of climate action lit a flame of hope. Now it is time for negotiators to pull the talks out of the mud and keep the fire burning brighter and stronger.
“Negotiators must put in place an agreement that sets the stage for a long term deal in Paris in 2015. Crucial to the success here is a roadmap for how countries will fulfill the promise developed countries made to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in poor countries and ensure countries’ loss and damage from events like Hagupit is part of the overall agreement.”
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