Weather Disasters Rising, Highest Since 70s

by GoNews Desk 2 years ago Views 3574

Climate Crisis Highest In 70 Yrs
The World Meteorological Organization has released its latest report, WMO Atlas Of Mortality and Economic Losses, 2021, in which it has been revealed that incidents of extreme weather and resultant economic losses have been higher than ever since the 1970’s worldwide.

“The number of disasters has increased by a factor of five over the 50 years period: whereas 711 disasters were recorded for 1970-79, 3,536 were recorded in 2009” the report states.

Heavy rains have lashed the capital of India since a few days, with yesterday breaking a 19-year record of rainfall. It has been repeatedly noted and studied that the summer monsoon in India is getting more erratic and intense with increasing global warming. Not only does urban rainfall cause flooding, traffic snarls, public health problems, power outages, etc., the overall volatility of monsoon patterns has an adverse effect on agriculture and weather patterns as well. The report clearly shows a predominance of water-based disasters such as flooding and storms as the chief causes of deaths and financial losses throughout the world. “Worldwide, 44% of disasters have been associated with floods… and 17% have been associated with tropical cyclones”

The report shows that the developing world, or the Global South, is taking most of the brunt of the climate crisis. 91% of all deaths occurred in developing countries by UN classification, and 82% in low and lower-middle income countries according to World Bank classification. Despite this, the countries with income and development on the lower side are the ones which are most polluted. This is both due to the need to catch up with the developed world industrially and because of their status as places with lax regulations that boost industrial profits and consequently encourage foreign inflows.

The following graph shows the proportion of deaths caused by various disasters from 1970-2019 worldwide:

There has been a total loss of US $3.6 trillion from natural disasters In this time period. Again, the major culprits for it are water-based disasters.

Moving on to the Asian region, China and India being the two most populous countries in the continent and the world have faced the music of climate-related disasters the most. The report itself says that “the most prevalent hazard in terms of economic losses were floods”. In India, some significant instances of flooding over the past decade have been:

  • 2021: Western Maharashtra floods kill 251 people in July
  • 2020: Floods In Assam cause widespread crop damage. 30,000 affected, 149 people killed including 26 in landslides
  • 2019: Floods in Kerala kill 121 and displace thousands
  • 2015: Gujarat floods leave 72 dead in July 
  • 2013: June-July Uttarakhand floods and landslide become country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. 5,700 people “presumed dead” by government

In the 50-year span considered by the report, China was the worst affected country with 90,624 deaths due to 907 natural disaster events. This is followed by India with 551 disasters that killed 134,037 people. The recent floods in China’s Hunan province show that the threat posed by climate change is looming and growing ever more serious. There is a clear need for a coordinated and urgent policy response to climate change effects at the local, national, and global levels. The slow but certain uptick in natural disasters points to a situation that can soon spiral out of control.


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