International

Weather, climate disasters surged fivefold in 50 years, says UN

Weather disasters

Weather disasters are striking the world four to five times more often and causing seven times more damage than in the 1970s, the United Nations weather agency reports.

Rapid climatic changes and growingly extreme weather events have given rise to a surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years disproportionately impacting poverty-stricken countries, said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). 

According to a report from the UN’s WMO, from 1970 to 2019, these natural vulnerabilities have accounted for 50% of all disasters, 45% of all reported deaths and 74% of all reported financial losses. It also observed that disasters of these kinds of nature have increased fivefold during that period, driven largely by a warming planet, and warned the upward trend would continue. 

Read more: Climate change to reshape life sooner than feared: UN

“The number of weather, climate, and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change,” Petteri Taalas, the WMO Secretary-General, said in a statement. 

Besides this, that particularly 11,000 disasters were reported which are attributed to these hazards globally, causing two million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses. While the death rate in developing countries is beyond 91%. 

Moreover, WMO released that a disaster typically interconnected with the weather, climate, and water extremes have thus occurred every single day over the past 50 years, results in killing 115 people; causing $202 million in daily losses. 

However, the largest losses of human life during the period were due to extreme droughts alone resulting in almost 650,000 deaths while storms have caused 577,000 deaths. 

Meanwhile, a report found that floods have killed nearly 59,000 over the past 50 years and severe temperatures have killed close to 56,000 people. 

“The good news is that we have been able to minimize the number of casualties once we have started having growing amount of disasters: heatwaves, flooding events, drought, and especially … intense tropical storms like Ida, which has been hitting recently Louisiana and Mississippi in the United States,” WMO’s secretary-general told in a news conference. 

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