Heatwaves: Essential lessons for humanitarian responders

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2023 is seeing intense heatwaves. According to a July 2023 briefing by the World Meteorological Association temperatures will frequently reach above 35–40°C in many places across the Mediterranean region, with temperatures in the Middle East and southeastern Türkiye reaching up to 45°C and, in North Africa, 44–49°C. April–May 2023 also saw temperature records broken across many parts of Asia, including Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

The IPCC predicts that 420 million people will be exposed to extreme heat and heatwaves in the near future. Hundreds of thousands of people die from preventable heat-related causes each year, while temperature extremes and wildfires cause devastation to lives and livelihoods. According to the WMO, ‘heatwaves are amongst the deadliest natural hazards [and] heat is a rapidly growing health risk’.

These lessons for humanitarian heatwave response begin with actions organisations can take in the immediate period and move to longer-term considerations to anticipate future heatwaves. They are drawn from ALNAP’s 2021 paper ‘Adapting humanitarian action to the effects of climate change’.


  • Publication language: English
  • Pages: 1pp
  • Suggested citation: ALNAP (2023) Heatwaves - Essential Lessons for Humanitarian Responders. London: ALNAP.