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posted by hubie on Friday May 26 2023, @01:23AM   Printer-friendly

https://phys.org/news/2023-05-early-disaster-deaths-plunging.html

Weather-related disasters have surged over the past 50 years, causing swelling economic damage even as early warning systems have meant dramatically fewer deaths, the United Nations said Monday.

Extreme weather, climate and water-related events caused 11,778 reported disasters between 1970 and 2021, new figures from the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) show.

Those disasters killed just over two million people and caused $4.3 trillion in economic losses.

"The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards," WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

The report found that over 90 percent of reported deaths worldwide due to disasters over the 51-year-period occurred in developing countries.

But the agency also said improved early warning systems and coordinated disaster management had significantly reduced the human casualty toll.

WMO pointed out in a report issued two years ago covering disaster-linked deaths and losses between 1970 and 2019, that at the beginning of the period the world was seeing more than 50,000 such deaths each year.

By the 2010s, the disaster death toll had dropped to below 20,000 annually.

[...] WMO meanwhile warned that while deaths have plunged, the economic losses incurred when weather, climate and water extremes hit have soared.

[...] Developed nations accounted for over 60 percent of losses due to weather, climate and water disasters, but in more than four-fifths of cases, the economic losses were equivalent to less than 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

And no disasters saw reported economic losses greater than 3.5 percent of the respective GDPs.

By comparison, in seven percent of the disasters to hit the world's least developed countries, losses equivalent to more than five percent of their GDP were reported, with several disasters causing losses equivalent to nearly a third of GDP.

And for small island developing states, one fifth of disasters saw economic losses of over five percent of GDP, with some causing economic losses above 100 percent.


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  • (Score: 2) by ewk on Friday May 26 2023, @07:30AM (1 child)

    by ewk (5923) on Friday May 26 2023, @07:30AM (#1308271)

    [... causing swelling economic damage even as early warning systems have meant dramatically fewer deaths ...]

    Yeah, well... warned in time people can run. Buildings, infrastructure... not so much.

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    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday May 26 2023, @12:37PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 26 2023, @12:37PM (#1308301) Journal

      Yeah, well... warned in time people can run. Buildings, infrastructure... not so much.

      The usual approach is to just not build valuable things in areas that experience frequent disasters and/or build some protective infrastructure. And notice how insignificant such destruction is for wealthier countries.

      Developed nations accounted for over 60 percent of losses due to weather, climate and water disasters, but in more than four-fifths of cases, the economic losses were equivalent to less than 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

      And no disasters saw reported economic losses greater than 3.5 percent of the respective GDPs.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday May 26 2023, @12:03PM

    by VLM (445) on Friday May 26 2023, @12:03PM (#1308293)

    The statistical error is assuming the 12K events are comparable, whereas the 2004 tsunami alone killed a quarter million people, so a time series analysis of natural disasters is implied to display trends in the data but its really describing trends in the relationship to 2004. And similar problems such as more recently Japan's tsunami which also killed a small nuke bomb number of people.

    Then combine that with common sense that early warning systems save lives, obviously, and you get nonsense as an output.

    Oh well. It means well and its probably even accidentally correct but its mathematically somewhere between suspect and imaginary.

  • (Score: 4, Touché) by VLM on Friday May 26 2023, @12:07PM (1 child)

    by VLM (445) on Friday May 26 2023, @12:07PM (#1308296)

    "The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards," WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

    Meaningless tautology. Like an authority stating with great pomp and circumstance that extensive research indicates that only the smartest people can understand my research results that the losing side in a military battle bears the brunt of the casualties oh what brilliant deep thought.

    • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Friday May 26 2023, @03:24PM

      by DadaDoofy (23827) on Friday May 26 2023, @03:24PM (#1308325)

      Yeah, and how does the weather know which communities are the most vulnerable?

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