Source: This post is based on the article “UN: Weather disasters soar in numbers, cost, but deaths fall” published in The Indian Express on 1st Sep 2021.
What is the news?
As per World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s report, weather disasters are striking the world four to five times more often and causing seven times more damage than in the 1970s.
About the report
The report looks at more than 11,000 weather disasters in the past half-century.
The report comes during a disaster-filled summer globally, including deadly floods in Germany and heatwave in the Mediterranean, and with the United States simultaneously struck by powerful Hurricane Ida and an onslaught of drought-worsened wildfires.
What are the findings of the report?
Increasing frequency of disasters: In the 1970s, the world averaged about 711 weather disasters a year, but from 2000 to 2009 that was up to 3,536 a year or nearly 10 a day. What’s driving the destruction is that more people are moving into dangerous areas as climate change is making weather disasters stronger and more frequent.
Increasing economic losses: In the 1970s, weather disasters cost about $175 billion globally, when adjusted to 2019 dollars, the U.N. found. That increased to $1.38 trillion for the period from 2010 to 2019. The economic losses have been growing very rapidly and this growth will continue.
Disasters are, however, killing far fewer people now. In the 1970s and 1980s, they killed an average of about 170 people a day worldwide. In the 2010s, that dropped to about 40 per day. As per experts, better weather warnings and preparedness are lessening the death toll.
More climatic extremes in the future: We are going to see more climatic extremes because of climate change, and these negative trends in climate will continue for the coming decades.
Most death and damage during 50 years of weather disasters came from storms, flooding and drought.
Developing nations suffer more: More than 90% of the more than 2 million deaths are in what the U.N. considers developing nations, while nearly 60% of the economic damage occurred in richer countries.