WorldClimate: A third of disaster victims are African

Climate: A third of disaster victims are African


AA / Paris / Ümit Dönmez

More than a third of the victims of weather disasters over the past five decades are African, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a report released Wednesday.
Revealing that on a global scale, the number of disasters of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin has multiplied by 5 over the last 50 years, the UN institution indicated that these have caused more damage, but fewer deaths, thanks in particular to better information and warning systems.

“Weather disasters have increased over the past 50 years, causing more damage, but fewer deaths. Climate change is leading to an increase in extreme weather conditions, but early warnings save lives,” WMO said in a report. tweet posted on Wednesday introducing the new report.

– Africa strongly affected by disasters

According to the Atlas (p.22) of mortality and economic losses due to meteorological, climatic and hydrological extremes [1], established by the WMO, Africa was the second most affected continent while “from 1970 to 2019, 1,695 recorded disasters caused the death of 731,747 people as well as 38.5 billion US dollars in economic losses “.
“Africa accounts for 15% of disasters of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin, 35% of associated deaths and 1% of reported economic losses worldwide,” says the report establishing that “disasters associated with floods have been the most frequent (60%), [alors que] droughts caused the highest number of deaths, accounting for 95% of all lives lost “and related to disasters caused on the continent.
The WMO Atlas states that the majority of deaths occurred during severe droughts in Ethiopia in 1973 and 1983 (400,000 deaths in total), Mozambique in 1981 (100,000) and Sudan in 1983 (150,000). .

The report underlines the insufficiency of African infrastructures, the WMO reporting “serious deficiencies in the meteorological and hydrological observation networks in Africa”.
Asia was the most affected continent as 3,454 disasters were recorded between 1970 and 2019, causing the deaths of 975,622 people and reported economic damage, estimated at $ 1,200 billion, according to the report (p .26).
“Asia accounts for almost a third (31%) of the disasters of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin reported in the world, accounting for almost half of the deaths (47%) and a third (31%) of the economic losses Most of these disasters were associated with floods (45%) and storms (36%) “, states the WMO report listing the deadliest disasters over the past 5 decades.

– More than 2 million deaths in 50 years on a global scale

Globally, on average, one disaster of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin has been recorded per day over the past 50 years, causing the deaths of 115 people every day as well as economic damage estimated at 202 million dollars, while 91% of these deaths occurred in developing countries.

During the period 1970-2019, more than 11,000 disasters caused the deaths of at least 2 million people worldwide and economic losses of US $ 3,640 billion, according to the WMO Atlas establishing a division by 3 of the number of deaths during this period, while the economic losses were multiplied by 7.

“Three of the ten costliest disasters occurred in 2017,” says the WMO report citing hurricanes “Harvey ($ 96.9 billion), Maria ($ 69.4 billion) and Irma (58, $ 2 billion) “.

– Storms and droughts are the deadliest

Responsible in the last five decades for the largest number of deaths (over 38%) linked to disasters of meteorological, climatic or hydrological origin, storms have killed at least 785,000 people. They are followed by droughts (34%), which caused more than 702,000 deaths, floods (16% or 330,000 deaths) and extreme temperatures (9% or 185,000 deaths).
“The number of extreme weather, climate and hydrological events is increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world due to climate change,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said in the statement. introduction to the report, published on Tuesday [2].

“This means more heat waves, droughts and forest fires like the ones we’ve seen recently in Europe and North America. We have more water vapor in the atmosphere, which makes precipitation worse. extremes and deadly floods. Warming oceans have affected the frequency and area of ​​existence of the most intense tropical storms, “he commented.
“But behind the austere statistics lies a message of hope. Improved multi-hazard early warning systems have led to a significant reduction in mortality. We are, quite simply, better than we have ever been. summer, to save lives, “said Professor Taalas, noting that” much remains to be done “while” only half of the 193 WMO members have multi-hazard early warning systems “.

[1] “Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses Due to Weather, Climate and Hydrological Extremes, World Meteorological Organization” – WMO – September 1, 2021

https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=10769

[2] “Weather-related disasters increase over past 50 years, causing more damage but fewer deaths” – OMM – August 31, 2021

https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/weather-related-disasters-increase-over-past-50-years-causing-more-damage-fewer

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