The number and cost of meteorological disasters will skyrocket, but the death toll will decrease

Geneva (AP)

According to a report by the United Nations Meteorological Agency, meteorological disasters have hit the world four to five times more frequently than in the 1970s, causing seven times more damage.

But these disasters are killing far fewer people. In the 1970s and 1980s, they killed an average of about 170 people a day worldwide. The World Meteorological Organization announced in a Wednesday report that it had investigated more than 11,000 meteorological disasters in the last half century.

The report came during a global disaster-stricken summer, including a deadly flood in Germany and a heat wave in the Mediterranean, while the United States was hit by a powerful hurricane Ida and a drought-deteriorated wildfire. I was hit by an attack.

“Fortunately, heat waves, floods, droughts, and especially … Minimize casualties when disasters such as the recent heavy tropical storms such as Aida hit Louisiana and Mississippi begin to increase. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at a press conference.

“But the bad news is that economic losses are growing very rapidly and this growth is likely to continue,” he added. “We will see more extreme climates due to climate change, and these negative trends in climate will continue for decades to come.”

According to a report using data from the Center for Disaster Epidemiology, the average global meteorological disaster in the 1970s was about 711 per year, but from 2000 to 2009 it was 3,536 per year, or nearly 10 per day. .. In Belgium. According to the report, the average number of annual disasters in the 2010s dropped slightly to 3,165.

Most of the fatalities and damages of 50 years of meteorological disasters have been caused by storms, floods and droughts.

More than 90% of the death toll of more than 2 million people is what the United Nations considers to be a developing country, and nearly 60% of economic damage has occurred in richer countries.

In the 1970s, the United Nations discovered that meteorological disasters cost about $ 175 billion worldwide and adjusted to $ 2019. From 2010 to 2019 it increased to $ 1.38 trillion.

According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and meteorological authorities, climate change is causing meteorological disasters more strongly and more frequently, so what is driving destruction is that more people are moving to dangerous areas. .. Meanwhile, experts said better weather warnings and readiness are reducing deaths.

Susan Cutter, director of the Hazard and Vulnerability Institute at the University of South Carolina, learned to live at risk and mentioned advances in protecting herself.

“On the other hand, we’re still making stupid decisions about where to put the infrastructure,” she said. “But it’s okay. We haven’t lost our lives. We’re just losing things.”

Samantha Montano, a professor of emergency management at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and author of the book Disaster Studies, said that the increase in extreme weather events, especially due to climate change in poor countries, would not reduce deaths. He said he was worried about it.

“The disparity that countries have the resources to devote themselves to minimizing disaster deaths is a major concern, especially due to climate change,” she said.

Hurricane Aida is a good example of great damage, and probably costs less lives than the major hurricanes of the past, Cutter said. This year, she added that meteorological disasters “seem to occur every few weeks,” including wildfires in Aida, the United States, and floods in Germany, China, and Tennessee.

The five most expensive meteorological disasters since 1970 were all US storms, surpassing Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The five most deadly meteorological disasters occurred in Africa and Asia. The drought and famine in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s and the 1970 Cyclone Bora in Bangladesh culminated.


Borenstein reported from Kensington, Maryland.

The number and cost of meteorological disasters will skyrocket, but the death toll will decrease

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