.com with AFP | 10:35 am – September 1, 2021
The number of disasters of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin has jumped over the past 50 years and they have caused more damage but less deaths thanks to better warning systems, the UN said on Thursday (September 1) in a report. report.
According to the Atlas of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which lists the number of deaths and economic losses due to extreme meteorological, climatic and hydrological phenomena from 1970 to 2019, these disasters have multiplied by five during this period. “The number of extreme weather, climate and hydrological events continues to increase. As a result of climate change, they will become more frequent and more violent in many parts of the world, ”UN agency secretary general Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
11,000 disasters in 50 years
In total, more than 11,000 disasters attributed to these phenomena have been reported over the past five decades worldwide, resulting in just over two million deaths and property damage amounting to $ 3,640 billion (more € 3,080 billion). On average, a meteorological, climatic or hydrological disaster has been recorded every day for the past 50 years, resulting in the deaths of 115 people and damage totaling $ 202 million every day. More than 91% of these deaths occurred in developing countries.
Droughts have been responsible for the greatest loss of life in the past 50 years, killing some 650,000, followed by storms (over 577,000 dead) and flooding (58,700 dead) and temperature extremes (nearly 56,000 dead).
Nevertheless, improved early warning systems and disaster management have resulted in a considerable reduction in mortality. The death toll has been reduced from over 50,000 per year in the 1970s to less than 20,000 in the 2010s. “We are simply better armed than ever to save lives,” said Petteri Taalas. But much remains to be done: only half of WMO’s 193 members have multi-hazard early warning systems. WMO also calls for improving meteorological and hydrological observation networks in Africa, parts of Latin America and the Pacific and Caribbean island states.
Mami Mizutori, who heads the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), also welcomed in the statement that more and more lives are being saved thanks to early warning systems. But, she warned, “the number of people exposed to disaster risk continues to increase due to population growth in risk areas and due to the greater intensity of weather phenomena, and their increasing frequency ”.
As for economic losses, they jumped from an average of $ 49 million per day in the 1970s to $ 383 million per day from 2010 to 2019. Storms were the most common cause of property damage and they are responsible for the biggest economic losses on the planet, according to the WMO. Seven of the ten costliest disasters of the past 50 years have occurred since 2005, including three in 2017 alone: Hurricanes Harvey (which caused nearly $ 97 billion in damage), Maria (nearly $ 70 billion dollars) and Irma (nearly $ 60 billion).