A new report released by the United Nations on Wednesday shows that extreme weather events have increased five-fold in the past 50 years, while the number of deaths associated with these events has declined.
Officials from the United Nations weather and climate agency World Meteorological Organization introduced the report at a briefing at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. The report shows that in the past 50 years, weather-related disasters occurred once a day on average, causing 115 deaths and causing losses of US$202 million per day.
The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori told reporters that she found the report “very shocking.” She pointed out that July this year was the hottest month on record, and there were heat waves and floods all over the world. Studies have shown that due to the increasing frequency and intensity of weather events, more people are suffering.
Waterbird said that 31 million people were displaced by natural disasters last year, almost surpassing the number of people displaced by conflict. She said that an average of 26 million people fall into poverty every year due to extreme weather events. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the problem even more complicated.
A UN disaster risk expert said: “We live in a world that we call a multi-hazard zone, which shows that we really need to invest more in disaster risk reduction and prevention.”
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that the good news in the report is that during the same period, due to improvements in early warning systems and disaster management, the number of deaths associated with these disasters has dropped by nearly three times.
But the study also shows that more than 91% of deaths do occur in developing or low-income countries, because many countries do not have the same early warning and management systems.
WMO officials stated that if climate change is not seriously mitigated, the economic losses associated with these disasters will worsen. Taras said that if the right measures are taken, this trend may stop in the next 40 years. WMO calls on the G-20 world economic powers to fulfill their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Part of the information in this report is provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP.