New research shows a staggering 90 percent of major disasters are a result of dangerous weather.
The data revealed 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events caused major damage to different regions of the world over the past two decades, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reductions reported. The United States was hit the hardest with 472 natural disasters, followed by China, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The researchers estimated natural disasters cost the U.S. between $250 billion and $300 billion annually. Since the first Climate Change Conference in 1995, 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured,
"Weather and climate are major drivers of disaster risk and this report demonstrates that the world is paying a high price in lives lost. Economic losses are a major development challenge for many least developed countries battling climate change and poverty," said Margareta Wahlström, head of UNISDR. "In the long term, an agreement in Paris at COP21 on reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be a significant contribution to reducing damage and loss from disasters which are partly driven by a warming globe and rising sea levels. "
average, weather-related natural disasters have increased by 14 percent since the period of 1995 to 2004, and have doubled since 1985 to 1995. Asia currently takes the biggest hit from disaster impacts including 332,000 deaths and 3.7 billion people affected.
The data shows 87 million homes were damaged or destroyed over the course of the survey. Floods accounted for 47 percent of all weather-related disasters from 1995 to 2015, resulting in 157,000 deaths. Storms accounted for 242,000 deaths, most of which occurred in low-income countries. Heat waves accounted for 148,000 of the 164,000 lives lost due to extreme temperatures. Drought most often affects the continent of Africa, and 136 of these events were recorded over the course of the survey.
"Climate change, climate variability and weather events are a threat to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals' overall target of eliminating poverty. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle other risk drivers such as unplanned urban development, environmental degradation and gaps in early warnings. This all requires ensuring people are risk informed and strengthening institutions which manage disaster risk," said Debarati Guha-Sapir, head of CRED.
See the full report HERE.