UN Report: Huge Rise in Climate Disasters

A United Nations report confirms how extreme weather events have come to dominate the disaster landscape in the 21st century. Between 2000 and 2019, there were more than 7,300 major recorded disaster events claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people, resulting in approximately $2.97 trillion in global economic losses. This is a sharp increase over the previous twenty years. Between 1980 and 1999, 4,200 disasters were linked to natural hazards worldwide. UN Secretary-General António Guterres (guh-ter-rez) responded, “COVID-19 has shown us that systemic risk requires international cooperation,” adding good disaster risk governance means acting on science and evidence. Much of the difference is explained by a rise in climate-related disasters, including extreme weather events. The last twenty years have seen the number of major floods more than double, to more than 3,200, while the incidence of storms grew from 1,400 to just over 2,000. The report “The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019” also records major increases in other categories, including drought, wildfires and extreme temperature events.