United Nations: Climate Change almost doubled major natural disasters since 2000

James Marshall
October 14, 2020

Political and business leaders' failure to adequately address the climate crisis in the face of dramatically increasing natural disasters during the 21st century is turning much of the planet into an "unihabitable hell for millions of people", the United Nations warned on Monday.

In its recently-released report " The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019" the UNDRR notes that there have been 7, 348 major disaster events between 2000 and 2019, which have claiming 1.23 million lives, affected another 4.2 billion people, and cost the global economy some $2.97 trillion.

The figure far outstrips the 4,212 major natural disasters recorded between 1980 and 1999, the United Nations office said in a new report entitled "The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019".

Debarati Guha-Sapir of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the University of Louvain, Belgium, which provided data for the report, said: "If this level of growth in extreme weather events continues over the next twenty years, the future of mankind looks very bleak indeed. That is the only conclusion one can come to", with action on climate change and other major threats lagging, said Mami Mizutori, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative for disaster risk deduction. "That is the only conclusion one can come to when reviewing disaster events over the last 20 years".

She accused governments of not doing enough to prevent climate hazards and called for better preparation for looming disasters.

To avoid that happening, the world must act urgently to invest in prevention, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, Mizutori said.

Drought, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and extreme temperature events caused major damage.

"COVID-19 is but the latest proof that political and business leaders are yet to tune into the world around them", she added in a statement.

The sharp increase has been attributed to rising global temperatures, which scientists say is increasing the frequency of extreme weather and disaster events.

The last two decades saw the number of disasters caused by extreme weather almost double to 6,681, up from 3,656 between 1980 and 1999, according to a report issued ahead of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13.

The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters' Emergency Events Database characterizes a natural disaster as having at least 10 or more people reported killed, 100 or more people reported affected, declaration of a state of emergency, or a call for worldwide assistance. "China (577 events) and the USA (467) reported the highest number of disasters, followed by India (321) and Philippines (304)", it said.

Global temperatures will continue to warm over the next five years, and may even temporarily rise to more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in July.

Evacuees from Mallacoota, Victoria, being transported on a landing craft to Royal Australian Navy (RAN) MV Sycamore during bushfire relief efforts.

Among the deadliest - considered mega disasters because they each killed more than 100,000 people - were the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, and the 2010 Haiti quake.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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