CARE2022 Hong Kong Conference

60 5 Preparedness and Resilience In addition to the important roles of the medical practitioners and clinical management discussed above, the Government and relevant NGOs also have the roles of promoting awareness of the heat issue through public education, building a resilient healthcare system targeting health issues arising from global warming, in particular in face of Hong Kong’s aging population, as well as addressing the needs of high-risk individuals. d) Community resilience to heat and other risks Even though Hong Kong faces many extreme weather risks noted in this report, including high air pollution under certain meteorological conditions, the associated risks do not impact everyone equally. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies defines community resilience as “the ability of individuals, communities, organizations or countries exposed to disasters, crises and underlying vulnerabilities, to anticipate, prepare for, reduce the impact of, cope with and recover from the effects of shocks and stresses without compromising their long-term prospects”. A resilient community possesses the following characteristics: • is knowledgeable, healthy and can meet basic needs, • is socially cohesive, • has economic opportunities, • has well-maintained and accessible infrastructures and services, • can manage its natural assets, and • is connected. Development of community resilience intervention programs by the Red Cross are guided by the following elements: • risk-informed, • holistic and systems-oriented approach, • demand-driven, • people-centred and inclusive process, and • climate smart and environmentally sustainable. The International Federation of Red Cross published an Extreme Heat Report in October 2022, noting that “people living in urban poverty, particularly those in informal and offgrid settlements, face a deadly combination of exposure to higher temperatures, higher vulnerability and lower access to coping mechanisms”.11 FIGURE 5.27 Extreme Heat Report published by IFRC, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre in October 2022 Source: IFRC Luckily, heat waves are relatively easy to forecast in most places of the world, including Hong Kong, and early actions are low-cost and effective to beat the heat. Effective response mechanisms include proper education campaigns, access to cool water and designating cooling centres, which are noregret steps that can be done in the community. Red Cross is also trialing partnerships with various institutions on improved data analysis and scaling up flexible cash support to finance solutions in thirteen countries. In Hong Kong, Red Cross works on community programs and public awareness. Community programs focus on the highrisk populations living in subdivided flats and communities located in remote, rural, or low-lying districts by engaging them to better understand their vulnerabilities and capacities, and providing them with equipment, drills, and home visits. Public awareness programs are done through exhibitions, mass events, thematic talks, and community tours to promote better understanding of the risks they face. Formal courses are also offered to institutes including the social sectors, government departments, uniform groups, and the private sector on emergency planning.