Extreme weather killed 2M, caused damages worth $ 4.3T over past 50 years: UN agency
Extreme weather and climate-related events around the world killed more than 2 million and caused economic damage of $4.3 trillion over the past half-century, a UN agency said on Monday, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
In a press release, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said a total of 11,778 weather, climate and water-related events were reported from 1970 to 2021 and over 90% of reported deaths worldwide occurred in developing countries.
However, the organization said, improved early warnings and coordinated disaster management have slashed the human casualty toll over the past 50 years.
It said the US alone incurred $1.7 trillion, or 39% of global losses. However, least developed countries and developing small island states suffered a “disproportionately high cost” in relation to the size of their economies, the UN agency added.
The WMO released the new findings for the quadrennial World Meteorological Congress “to ensure that early warning services reach everyone on Earth by the end of 2027.”
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said: "The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards."
"Extremely severe cyclonic storm Mocha exemplifies this. It caused widespread devastation in Myanmar and Bangladesh, impacting the poorest of the poor," Taalas said. "In the past, both Myanmar and Bangladesh suffered death tolls of tens and even hundreds of thousands of people."
"Thanks to early warnings and disaster management these catastrophic mortality rates are now thankfully history. Early warnings save lives," he added.
The total number of deaths reported for 2020 and 2021 (22,608) showed a further decline in mortality when compared to the annual average of the previous 10 years, according to the findings.
However, the UN agency said economic losses increased with storms being largely responsible.
“Extreme temperatures were the leading cause of reported deaths and floods were the leading cause of economic losses,” it added.
The findings were compiled by WMO as an update to its Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate, and Water Extremes, which initially covered the 50-year period from 1970 to 2019.