Local weather change spurs doubling of disasters since 2000: UN | Asia

According to a report by the UN body, 6,681 climate-related events have been recorded since the turn of the century, up from 3,656 in the last 20 years.

Climate change is largely due to natural disasters nearly doubling in the past 20 years, according to the United Nations.

The UN Bureau for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) announced that 7,348 disaster events occurred between 2000 and 2019, killing 1.23 million people, affecting 4.2 billion people and affecting the global economy around 2.97 trillion US Dollar cost.

The number far exceeds the 4,212 major natural disasters between 1980 and 1999, the UN office said in a new report: The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019.

The sharp increase was largely due to an increase in climate-related disasters, including extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms. Extreme heat is particularly deadly, according to the report.

“We are deliberately destructive,” UNDRR boss Mami Mizutori told reporters in a virtual briefing. “This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from reviewing disaster events over the past 20 years.”

She accused governments of not doing enough to prevent climate threats and called for better preparedness for impending disasters.

“Uphill battle”

“The odds are against us if we don’t respond to scientific evidence and early warnings to invest in prevention, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” added Mizutori.

The report failed to address biological hazards and disease-related disasters like the coronavirus pandemic, which killed more than a million people and infected at least 37 million in the past nine months.

However, Mizutori suggested the coronavirus was “the latest evidence that politicians and business leaders have not yet adjusted to the world around them”.

According to the report, 6,681 climate-related events have been recorded since the turn of the century, up from 3,656 in the last 20 years.

While the major floods more than doubled to 3,254, there were 2,034 major storms, compared to 1,457 in the previous period.

Mizutori said health officials and rescue workers are “fighting an uphill battle against an ever-increasing tide of extreme weather events”.

While better precautionary and early warning systems had helped reduce the number of deaths in many natural disaster areas, the UN official warned that “more people are affected by the growing climate emergency”.

Data showed that Asia suffered the highest number of disasters in the last 20 years with 3,068 such events, followed by America with 1,756 and Africa with 1,192.

In terms of affected countries, China topped the list with 577 events, followed by the United States with 467.

The deadliest single catastrophe in the last 20 years was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami with 226,400 deaths, followed by the Haiti earthquake in 2010, in which around 222,000 people were killed.

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