Environment warns of possible flooding and urban flooding in the next 24 hours / Courtesy: Civil Protection.
Early warning systems for weather hazards are saving many lives, but the economic losses associated with these events are rising at a dizzying rate, the United Nations reported Monday.
Nearly two million people died from extreme weather, climate and hydrological events between 1970 and 2021, according to new World Meteorological Organization (WMO) statistics.
The UN specialized agency has updated data to 2021, revealing that 90% of deaths occur in developing countries.
The 11,778 recorded disasters over the 51 years studied were shown to have caused economic losses of $4.3 billion.
“Unfortunately, the most vulnerable communities are the most affected by weather, climate and hydrological risks,” said WMO Secretary-General Peteri Taalas.
But the UN agency stressed that improved early warning systems and coordinated management of the disaster had significantly reduced the number of casualties.
For Taaras, reaching the entire global population with these warning systems is a top priority because it enables people to prepare, protect themselves and evacuate in time.
The goal shared by the UN Secretary-General is to protect the entire world by 2027.
The WMO emphasized that these systems not only save lives, but “at least ten times the return on investment”.
South America recorded 943 catastrophic events attributed to meteorological, climatic and hydrological events, 61% of which were floods.
These events killed 58,484 people and caused losses of $115.2 million.
Currently, only half of the countries have early warning systems, and they are poorly covered, especially in Africa and the poorest countries.
WMO member states are meeting in Geneva from Monday, with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the International Telecommunications Union and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent considering ratifying the initiative with the participation of other countries. . A wide range of actors will participate, from financial institutions to the private sector.
One example is Cyclone Mocha, which devastated Myanmar and Bangladesh last week, Taalas said.
The death toll of 145, according to the Burma Commission, has “caused widespread devastation affecting the poorest of the poor,” officials said, adding that the toll was left behind. There have been similar catastrophes in the past, which we have identified as far fewer than the estimated number.
“Thankfully, thanks to early warning and disaster management, such devastating mortality rates are now a thing of the past. Early warning saves lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, economic losses are also soaring.
Rich countries were hit hardest financially, but the poorest countries suffered the most when compared to the size of their economies, the WMO said.
The United States has suffered a loss of $1.7 trillion, which is 39% of all global losses since 1970.
Developed countries record more than 60% of losses from weather, climate or water disasters, but in more than four-fifths of cases these losses account for less than 0.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). Equivalent.
In contrast, 7% of the catastrophes affecting the poorest countries resulted in losses of 5% or more of GDP.
In some cases, disasters have caused damages equivalent to nearly one-third of GDP.