Disasters & Accidents

2 million dead, $4.3 trillion lost in climate catastrophe

Geneva, May 22 (EFE).- Extreme weather, climate, and water-related events caused over two million deaths and $4.3 trillion in economic losses between 1970 and 2021, a new World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report said Monday.

The Geneva-based UN agency said 11,778 disasters occurred in the 51 years, with over 90 percent of reported deaths in developing countries.

“The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Taalas cited the recent severe cyclonic storm Mocha that left a trail of death and destruction in Bangladesh and Myanmar, “impacting the poorest of the poor.”

The WMO said even as the economic losses have soared, improved early warnings and coordinated disaster management slashed the human casualty toll over the past.

“Over 60 percent of economic losses (due to climate disasters) were reported for developed economies,” the report said.

It noted that the economic losses were equivalent to less than 0.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in respective economies in more than four-fifths of these disasters.

No disasters occurred that caused economic losses greater than 3.5 percent of the respective GDPs.

The United States alone incurred $1.7 trillion, accounting for 39 percent of economic losses worldwide in the five decades.

“But least developed countries and small island developing states suffered a disproportionately high cost in relation to the size of their economies,” said the report.

Asia suffered the worst, with 984,263 deaths and $1.4 trillion in economic losses.

The deaths in Asia accounted for 47 percent of all reported deaths worldwide, with tropical cyclones being the leading cause of reported deaths.

Bangladesh has the highest death toll in Asia, with 520,758 deaths due to 281 events.

Tropical cyclones were the leading cause of reported deaths like Nargis in 2008, killing 138,366 people.

Disasters killed 733,585 people in Africa, 166,492 in Europe, 77,454 in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, 66,951 in South-West Pacific, and 58,484 in South America. EFE


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