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90% of disasters worldwide are weather-related, according to UN report.

UNIDSR releases a new report on the human cost of weather-related disasters.

 

On 23 November 2015, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNIDSR) released a report entitled, “The human cost of weather-related disasters 1995-2015.” According to the report, the highest number of disasters occurred in the United States, China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

 

The report and analysis compiled by UNISDR and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) demonstrates that since the first UN climate change conference (COP1) in 1995, 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless or in need of emergency assistance as a result of weather-related disasters.

 

It also highlights data gaps, noting that economic losses from weather-related disasters are much higher than the recorded figure of US$1.891 trillion, which accounts for 71% of all losses attributed to natural hazards over the twenty-year period. Only 35% of records include information about economic losses. UNISDR estimates that the true figure on disaster losses – including earthquakes and tsunamis – is between US$250 billion and US$300 billion annually.

Highlights of the report:

  • Asia accounts for the lion’s share of disaster impacts including 332,000 deaths and 3.7 billion people affected. The death toll in Asia included 138,000 deaths caused by Cyclone Nargis which struck Myanmar in 2008. 
  • In total, an average of 335 weather-related disasters were recorded per year between 2005 and 2014, an increase of 14% from 1995-2004, and almost twice the level recorded during 1985-1995. 
  • The extent of the toll taken by disasters on society is revealed by other statistics from CRED’s Emergency Events Data Base, or EM-DAT: 87 million homes were damaged or destroyed over the period of the survey. 
  • Floods accounted for 47% of all weather-related disasters from 1995-2015, affecting 2.3 billion people and killing 157,000. Storms were the deadliest type of weather-related disaster, accounting for 242,000 deaths or 40% of the global weather-related deaths, with 89% of these deaths occurring in lower-income countries. 
  • Overall, heatwaves accounted for 148,000 of the 164,000 lives lost due to extreme temperatures. 92% of heatwave deaths occurred in high-income countries, with Europe accounting for 90%. 
  • Drought affects Africa more than any other continent, with EM-DAT recoding 136 events there between 1995 and 2015, including 77 droughts in East Africa alone. The report recommends that there needs to be improved data collection on indirect deaths from drought.

 

The full report can be downloaded here.

waiaaa europa Deltares Ecologic CFR UAlg IMDC IO-BAS LIENSs-CNRS TUD WMO UPC CIMA BAW EurOcean SEI MU-FHRC UniCaen UCAM-CCRU UNESCO-IHE