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

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 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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