The international Red Cross has signed an agreement with an African meteorology organization, hoping to better predict and respond to disasters caused by climate change.  

A cooperation pact signed Monday in Dakar will give the Red Cross inside access to weather prediction and data produced by the African Center for Meteorological Application in Development.

The agreement will allow cooperation between organizations with complementary expertise and know-how, says ACMAD director general Alhassane Diallo.

Meteorologist Diallo says climate change will continue, and likely will happen faster in coming years.  He says Africa is sure to be further effected and Africans can expect worsening and more frequent droughts and floods.

The organizations say the partnership is encouraging, because together they can predict problems and help alleviate them.  Diallo called the effort a "work of pioneers."

The Red Cross plans to use the data to better predict and respond to disasters caused by the planet's changing climate, says Regional Disaster Response Coordinator Youcef Ait-Challouche.

Changing climate brings increasing challenges in Africa

Challouche says Africa has already seen an increased number of disasters spurred by climate change.  He says floods, droughts, and epidemics are all increasing on the continent, and the need to better prepare beforehand is driving the coordination with meteorologists.

The consequences of climate change for Africans will continue to be far reaching, Challouche says.  He pointed to the disruption of traditional planting patterns and calendars, and resulting population movements, as recent and significant problems spurred by climate change.

Challouche emphasized data provided by the meteorologists will allow the Red Cross to plan their activities based on probabilities, rather than possibilities.  The organization plans to undertake food security programs in areas where the data suggests vulnerability to future climate-related disasters.

The Red Cross and international community are interested in helping Africans cope with climate change out of fairness, Challouche says.  While Africa is estimated to have produced about two percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that lead to global warming, experts say the continent will bear the brunt of a disproportional amount of disasters resulting from climate change.