Climate change: natural disasters have doubled around the world

Geneva | Climate change is the main culprit in the doubling of natural disasters around the world in 20 years, the UN warned on Monday, noting that natural disasters have killed more than 1.2 million people since 2000.

During the last 20 years (2000-2019), 7348 natural disasters have been recorded in the world [pour un coût évalué à près de 3000 milliards de dollars], nearly twice as many as between 1980 and 1999, reveals a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNSDIR).

“COVID-19 has really made governments and the general public aware of the risks around us. They can see that if COVID-19 is this terrible, the climate emergency can be even worse, ”UNSDIR Secretary General Mami Mizutori said at a press conference.

“Without a green recovery, we will only increase the climate emergency,” she insisted.

The report, which does not cover epidemiological risks such as the coronavirus, shows that the progression of natural disasters is mainly linked to the increase in climatic disasters, which went from 3656 (1980-1999) to 6681 (2000-2019) .

“We are knowingly destructive. This is the only conclusion one can come to when we review the disasters that have occurred over the past 20 years, “said Mizutori.

The costs of natural disasters have been estimated at nearly $ 3 trillion since 2000, but the actual amount is higher as a large number of countries, especially in Africa and Asia, do not provide information on the economic impact. .

Floods – which have doubled – and storms have been the most frequent disasters over the past two decades.

For the next decade, the UN estimates that the worst problem will be heat waves.

Asia, the most affected continent

Globally, the number of deaths hardly increased, going from 1.19 million over the period 1980-1999 to 1.23 million over the period 2000-2019, while the number of people affected by these natural disasters jumped ( from 3.25 billion to 4 billion).

“More lives are being saved, but more people are affected by the growing climate emergency. The risk of disaster becomes systemic ”, underlined Mme Mizutori, calling on the world to follow the recommendations of scientists and invest in climate change prevention and adaptation programs.

Asia – home to eight of the top ten countries with the highest number of disasters – is the most affected region, followed by the Americas and Africa.

China and the United States were the countries that reported the most disasters, followed by India, the Philippines and Indonesia. These countries have relatively high population densities in at-risk areas, the report says.

The years 2004, 2008 and 2010 were the most devastating, with more than 200,000 deaths in each of these years. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the deadliest, killing more than 220,000.

The second most important event took place in 2010, when an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale killed more than 200,000 people, in addition to injuring more than 300. 000 others. In 2008, the cyclone Nargis meanwhile killed some 138,000 people during his visit to Burma.

The report also notes that the average number of deaths worldwide between 2000 and 2019 was around 60,000 per year, and that since 2010, there has been no “mega-disaster” (over 100,000 deaths). ).

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