By Antonio Broto
Geneva, Oct 12 (efe-epa).- There were 6,681 climate-related natural disasters in the first two decades of the 21st century, an 80 percent increase compared to the previous 20 years with Asia being the hardest-hit region, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said in a report Monday.
The report, titled the Human Cost of Disasters, found that 1.23 million people died in natural disasters, including climate-linked events and geological ones like earthquakes, between 2000 and 2019.
A total of 4.2 billion people were affected by disasters in that same timeframe.
By contrast, between 1990 and 1999, natural disasters — not including epidemics or pandemics — killed a total of 1.19 million people and had an impact on 3.25 billion.
Natural disasters in the first two decades of this century caused estimated global economic losses of $2.97 trillion globally, compared to the previous two decades, although the UN office acknowledged the difficulty in tallying financial factors, especially in developing countries.
“The odds are being stacked against us when we fail to act on science and early warnings to invest in prevention, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” Mami Miztori, head of the UNDRR, said.
The report found that droughts had increased by 29 percent between 2000-19 compared to 1980-99, from 263 to 338 but that extreme weather events such as heatwaves and periods of cold rose 232 percent from 130 to 432.
At least 165,000 people were killed in such weather events, but expert Debarati Guha-Sapir, who co-presented the report, said many deaths in developing nations could have gone unreported.
The majority of the data in this regard had been collected from hospitals in Europe.