ENVIRONMENT-DISASTERS-UN: Sharp increase in natural disasters in 20 years, says UN
GENEVA (Reuters) – Extreme weather events have increased sharply over the past two decades, especially in Asia, and will continue to grow, causing enormous human and economic losses globally, the United Nations said on Monday .
China (577) and the United States (467) recorded the highest number of disasters between 2000 and 2019, ahead of India (321), the Philippines (304) and Indonesia (278), according to a UN report released on the eve of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Eight of the top ten most affected countries are in Asia.
Around 7,348 major disasters have been recorded around the world, killing 1.23 million, affecting 4.2 billion people and generating $ 2,970 billion in economic losses over the past two decades.
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The number of major floods more than doubled to 3,254. Episodes of drought, fires and extreme temperatures also wreaked havoc.
“More and more people are feeling the effects of this developing climate emergency,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction in the United Kingdom, during a briefing. ‘UN.
She called on governments to invest in early warning systems and put in place risk reduction strategies.
“If this acceleration of extreme weather phenomena continues for the next twenty years, the future of humanity certainly looks very bleak,” warned Debarati Guha-Sapir, who works at the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the The University of Louvain, Belgium, where the statistics used for the report come from.
“Heat waves will be our main problem over the next decade, especially in poor countries,” she said.
Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions killed more people than other types of natural disasters analyzed, according to the report. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which claimed more than 250,000 lives, was the deadliest of these.
(Stephanie Nebehay, French version Flora Gomez, edited by Blandine Hénault)