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UN chief seeks universal early-warning coverage for climate disasters

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United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he will soon launch a plan for universal early-warning coverage for climate disasters.

In a video message for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, Guterres on Thursday said climate disasters are hurting countries and economies like never before. Ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions are supercharging extreme weather events across the planet.

Yet, the world is failing to invest in protecting the lives and livelihoods of those on the front line. Those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are paying the highest price. Entire populations are being blindsided by cascading climate disasters without any means of prior alert, he said.

“People need adequate warning to prepare for extreme weather events. That is why I am calling for universal early-warning coverage in the next five years,” he said.

Guterres said early-warning systems and the ability to act on them are proven life-savers, noting that he will launch an action plan to provide early-warning systems for all within five years at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt next month.

He urged governments, international financial institutions and civil society to support such systems.

“On this International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, I call on all countries to invest in early-warning systems and support those who lack capacity. Extreme weather events will happen. But they do not need to become deadly disasters,” said Guterres.

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