The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says climate change is fundamentally altering the global humanitarian agenda.
In response, the Geneva-based agency is launching an appeal worth SFr326 million ($292 million) for 2008 and 2009. Approximately 75 per cent of the budget will be dedicated to disaster preparedness and health care initiatives that are community-based.
The Federation states global weather patterns are contributing to an increase in disasters, affecting water supplies, impacting global harvests and contributing to the rise in incidence of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
"There is no doubt in my mind that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity today," says Markku Niskala, the 186-nation organisation's secretary general.
Much of the budget will be directed towards small island states, in delta regions and across Africa, where shifting patterns of weather, rainfall and temperature are expected to be most acute.
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