Climate and weather related disasters surge five-fold over 50 years

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Over the past 5 decades, disasters related to weather, clime oregon h2o hazards, person go a regular occurrence, responsible for the deaths of at slightest 115 people, and causing $202 cardinal successful economical loses each day, according to a caller study from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), launched connected Wednesday.

The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019) paints a stark reality: clime alteration and much utmost upwind has driven the fig of disasters to surge five-fold implicit the past 50 years.

Lifesaving aboriginal informing boost

But the quality is acold from all bad. Thanks to improved aboriginal informing systems and catastrophe management, the fig of deaths decreased astir threefold betwixt 1970 and 2019 - falling from 50,000 successful the 1970s to little than 20,000 successful the 2010s. the study explains.

“Economic losses are mounting arsenic vulnerability increases. But, down the stark statistics, lies a connection of hope. Improved multi-hazard aboriginal informing systems person led to a important simplification successful mortality. Quite simply, we are amended than ever earlier astatine redeeming lives”, said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Extreme upwind  similar  wide    drought is causing economical  losses amongst farmers crossed  the world.

UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Extreme upwind similar wide drought is causing economical losses amongst farmers crossed the world.

Statistics archer the story

According to the Atlas, from 1970 to 2019, weather, clime and h2o hazards accounted for 50 per cent of each disasters, 45 per cent of each reported deaths and 74 per cent of each reported economical losses.

There were much than 11,000 reported disasters attributed to these hazards globally, with conscionable implicit 2 cardinal deaths and $3.64 trillion successful losses. More than 91 per cent of the deaths occurred successful processing countries.

Of the apical 10 disasters, droughts proved to be the deadliest hazard during the period, causing 650,000 deaths, followed by storms that led to 577,232 deaths; floods, which took 58.700 lives; and utmost somesthesia events, during which 55,736 died.

Deadliest disasters successful  the past   50 years.


Deadliest disasters successful the past 50 years.

Costs spiralling

Meanwhile, economical losses person accrued sevenfold from the 1970s to the 2010s, going from an mean of $49 million, to a whopping $383 cardinal per time globally.

Storms, the astir prevalent origin of damage, resulted successful the largest economical losses astir the globe.

Three of the costliest 10 disasters, each hurricanes that occurred successful 2017, accounted for 35 per cent of full economical catastrophe losses astir the satellite from 1970 to 2019.

In the United States, Hurricane Harvey caused $96.9 cardinal successful damage, Maria successful the Caribbean 69.4 billion, and Irma $58.2 cardinal successful Cape Verde.

Most costly  disasters from 1970-2019.


Most costly disasters from 1970-2019.

Climate alteration footprints

“The fig of weather, clime and h2o extremes are expanding and volition go much predominant and terrible successful galore parts of the satellite arsenic a effect of clime change”, said Mr. Taalas. “That means much heatwaves, drought and wood fires specified arsenic those we person observed precocious successful Europe and North America”.

More h2o vapor successful the ambiance has exacerbated utmost rainfall and flooding, and the warming oceans have affected the frequence and grade of the astir aggravated tropical storms, the WMO main explained.

WMO cited peer-reviewed studies successful the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, showing that implicit the play 2015 to 2017, 62 of the 77 events reported, revealed a large quality power astatine play. Moreover, the probability of heatwaves has been importantly accrued owed to quality activity, according to respective studies done since 2015.

The Atlas clarifies that the attribution of drought events to anthropogenic, oregon human, factors, is not arsenic wide arsenic for heatwaves due to the fact that of earthy variability caused by ample oceanic and atmospheric oscillations, specified as El Niño clime pattern. However, the 2016-2017 East African drought was powerfully influenced by lukewarm sea-surface temperatures successful the occidental Indian Ocean to which quality power contributed.

Climate alteration has besides increased utmost oversea level events associated with immoderate tropical cyclones, which person accrued the strength of different utmost events specified arsenic flooding and associated impacts. This has augmented the vulnerability of low-lying megacities, deltas, coasts and islands successful galore parts of the world.

Moreover, an expanding fig of studies are besides uncovering quality power exacerbating extreme rainfall events, sometimes successful conjunction with different large clime influences. Examples see the utmost rainfall successful eastbound China successful June and July 2016 and Hurricane Harvey, which deed Houston successful 2017.

A pistillate   walks done  h2o  successful  an country  affected by flooding successful  East Jakarta, Indonesia.

© UNICEF/Arimacs Wilander

A pistillate walks done h2o successful an country affected by flooding successful East Jakarta, Indonesia.

The request for adaptability

Only fractional of WMO’s 193 subordinate countries person multi-hazard aboriginal informing systems and terrible gaps successful upwind and hydrological observing networks beryllium successful Africa, immoderate parts of Latin America and successful Pacific and Caribbean land States, the study warns.

“More lives are being saved acknowledgment to aboriginal informing systems, but it is besides existent that the fig of radical exposed to catastrophe hazard is expanding owed to colonisation maturation successful hazard-exposed areas and the increasing strength and frequence of upwind events.  More planetary practice is needed to tackle the chronic occupation of immense numbers of radical being displaced each twelvemonth by floods, storms and drought”, said Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative and caput of the Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Ms. Mizutori called for a greater concern successful broad catastrophe hazard absorption to guarantee that clime alteration adaptation is integrated successful nationalist and section catastrophe hazard simplification strategies.

The UNDRR main warned that the nonaccomplishment to trim disasters losses arsenic acceptable retired successful the 2015 Sendai Framework is putting astatine hazard the quality of processing countries to eradicate poorness and to execute different important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Atlas further recommends countries to reappraisal hazard vulnerability and vulnerability considering a changing clime to bespeak that tropical cyclones whitethorn person antithetic tracks, strength and velocity than successful the past.

It besides calls for the improvement of integrated and proactive policies connected slow-onset disasters specified arsenic drought.

A pistillate   walks crossed  a flooded roadworthy  successful  Santo Tomás, San Salvador, aft  Tropical Storm Amanda caused a landslide.

© WFP/Mauricio Martinez

A pistillate walks crossed a flooded roadworthy successful Santo Tomás, San Salvador, aft Tropical Storm Amanda caused a landslide.

The Atlas by portion from 1970 to 2019


  • 1,695 recorded disasters caused the nonaccomplishment of 731,747 lives and $5 cardinal successful economical losses.
  • The continent accounts for 15 per cent of weather, climate, and water-related disasters; 35 per cent of associated deaths and 1 per cent of economical losses reported globally.
  • Although disasters associated with floods were the astir prevalent, astatine 60 per cent, droughts led to the highest fig of deaths, accounting for 95 per cent of each lives mislaid successful the region, withmost occurring successful Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan


  • 3,454 disasters were recorded, with 975,622 lives mislaid and $2 trillion reported successful economical damages.
  • Asia accounts for astir 1 third, oregon 31 per cent of weather, climate, and water-related disasters globally, for astir fractional of each deaths and one-third of associated economical losses.
  • Forty-five per cent of these disasters were associated with floods and 36 per cent with storms .
  • Storms took 72 per cent of of lives lost, portion floods led to 57 per cent of economical losses

South America

  • The apical 10 recorded disasters successful the portion accounted for 60 per cent of the 34,854 lives mislaid 38 per cent of economical losses equalling $39.2 billion.
  • Floods represented 90 per cent of events successful the apical 10 database of disasters by decease toll and 41 per cent of the apical 10 database by economical losses.
  • Floods were liable for 59 per cent of disasters, 77 per cent for lives mislaid and 58 per cent of economical nonaccomplishment for the region.

North America, Central America & the Caribbean

  • The portion suffered 74,839 deaths and $1.7 trillion economical losses.
  • The portion accounted for 18 per cent of weather-, climate- and water-related disasters, 4 per cent of associated deaths and 45 per cent of associated economical losses worldwide.
  • Storms were liable for 54 per cent and floods, 31 per cent of recorded disasters., with the erstwhile linked to 71 per cent of deaths and the second to 78 per cent of economical losses.
  • The United States accounts for 38 per cent of planetary economical losses caused by weather, clime and h2o hazards.

South West Pacific

  • The portion recorded 1,407 disasters, 65,391 deaths, and $163.7 cardinal successful economical losses.
  • 45 per cent of these disasters were associated with storms and 39 per cent with floods.
  • Storms accounted for 71 per cent of disaster-related deaths.
  • Disasters resulting from weather, clime and h2o hazards successful Australia accounted for 54 per cent oregon $88.2 cardinal successful economical losses successful the full region.


  • 1,672 recorded disasters took 159,438 lives and $476.5 cardinal successful economical damages.
  • Although 38 per cent were attributed to floods and 32 per cent to storms, utmost temperatures accounted for 93 per cent of deaths, with 148,109 lives lost.
  • Extreme heatwaves of 2003 and 2010 were liable for 80 per cent of each deaths, with 127,946 lives mislaid successful the 2 events.
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