First modification: 09/02/2021 – 02:35
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published a report on Wednesday in which it assures that floods, heat waves and forest fires have multiplied by five in the last 50 years, with incalculable environmental and economic costs that exceed 3.64 trillion dollars.
Natural disasters have increased globally, largely due to the effects of climate change and global warming.
The report published this Wednesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), carried out a complete review of the mortality and economic losses due to extreme meteorological, hydric and climatic phenomena in the last 50 years.
The study examined nearly 11,000 natural disasters that occurred between 1970 and 2019, including major catastrophes such as the 1983 drought in Ethiopia, which left 300,000 deaths, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which was the costliest, with losses of $ 163.6 billion. .
In this period, more than two million people lost their lives and the total cost was about 3.64 billion dollars in total losses, as assured by the agency that is part of the UN.
In a list of countries registered by the organization, more than 91% of those deaths occurred in developing countries. According to the agency, while poor countries have suffered the highest number of fatalities, those who lose the most due to the economic value of the goods affected are developed nations.
Human and economic losses from changes in climate
Climate change and extreme weather conditions that the planet has suffered in the last 50 years have driven the increase in natural disasters in many regions.
According to the WMO, in the period from 1970 to 2019, meteorological, climatic and water hazards accounted for 50% of all disasters, 45% of all recorded deaths, and 74% of all reported economic losses.
“The number of extreme weather, climate and hydrological events is increasing and these events will be more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said during a news conference.
In addition, according to the report, during the 50-year period, damages were produced at a cost of 202 million dollars on average every day. The losses reported between 2010 and 2019 ($ 383 million per day on average) were seven times greater than those recorded between 1970 and 1979 ($ 49 million). Storms were the most frequent cause of damage and caused the largest economic losses in the world.
In 2017 there were three natural disasters that have been classified as the most expensive in recent times: Hurricanes Harvey (96.9 billion dollars), Maria (69.4 billion dollars) and Irma (58.2 billion dollars). of dollars). These three hurricanes accounted for 35% of the total economic losses from the top ten disasters worldwide between 1970 and 2019.
New WMO Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019) details human and economic cost of disasters over past 50 years, with input from @UNDRR, @QUIEN, @PHE_uk
It’s not all bad news. We are better at saving lives. pic.twitter.com/zO5aPTZ741
– World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) September 1, 2021
Deaths from natural disasters are lower today
Projections in the WMO report indicate that in large parts of Asia and North America, temperatures will rise and rains will be more intense in the next 20 years. This will not happen in the Mediterranean basin, in southern Africa, in Australia and in certain areas of the American continent, where droughts will increase.
The threats that have caused the most loss of life during the period chosen in the study have been droughts (650,000 deaths), storms (577,232 deaths), floods (58,700 deaths) and extreme temperatures (55,736 deaths).
However, thanks to the use of technology and the issuance of early warnings, the number of lives lost is almost three times less today.
With Reuters and EFE