Climate, weather related disasters surge five-fold over 50 years, but early warnings save lives – WMO report
(United Nations News) Climate change and increasingly extreme weather events, have caused a surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years disproportionately impacting poorer countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said on Wednesday.
According to the agencies’ Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, from 1970 to 2019, these natural hazards accounted for 50 per cent of all disasters, 45 per cent of all reported deaths and 74 per cent of all reported economic losses.
There were more than 11,000 reported disasters attributed to these hazards globally, with just over two million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses. More than 91 per cent of the deaths occurred in developing countries.
But the news is far from all bad. Thanks to improved early warning systems and disaster management, the number of deaths decreased almost threefold between 1970 and 2019 – falling from 50,000 in the 1970s to less than 20,000 in the 2010s. the report explains.
“Economic losses are mounting as exposure increases. But, behind the stark statistics, lies a message of hope. Improved multi-hazard early warning systems have led to a significant reduction in mortality. Quite simply, we are better than ever before at saving lives”, said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
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