Climate, Weather-Related Disasters Increasing, but Early Warnings Save Lives
Climate change and increasingly extreme weather events have caused a surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years, disproportionately impacting poorer countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said.
According to the agencies’ “Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes,” from 1970 to 2019, these natural hazards accounted for 50 percent of all disasters, 45 percent of all reported deaths and 74 percent of all reported economic losses.
There were more than 11,000 reported disasters attributed to these hazards globally, with just over 2 million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses. More than 91 percent of the deaths occurred in developing countries.
But the news is far from all bad. Thanks to improved early-warning systems and disaster management, the number of deaths decreased almost threefold between 1970 and 2019, falling from 50,000 in the 1970s to less than 20,000 in the 2010s, according to the report.