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WMO published its new report on weather-related disasters

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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday that the number of people displaced by disaster is "almost getting larger" than the number of people displaced by conflict, as thirty one million people were displaced by disasters last year.

Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori added that we are living in a "multi-hazard world" as the number of people in hunger is increasing, alongside covid and extreme weather events "attacking us at the same time."

Weather disasters are striking the world four to five times more often and causing seven times more damage than in the 1970s, according to the United Nations weather agency report.

The comments were made during a news conference to launch the new report from the United Nations' weather agency, the Atlas of Mortality and Economic losses from weather, climate and water-related hazards.

Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Petteri Taalas said that there are "two areas globally which have been exposed to more dramatic climate change than other parts of the world - the Middle East and Antarctica."

Taalas also wanted that the growth of population of Africa and the climate change effects will also impact the region negatively.

"This will for sure lead to major displacement and crises, and perhaps also refugee crises," he said.

In the 1970s, the world averaged about 711 weather disasters a year, but from 2000 to 2009 that was up to 3,536 a year or nearly 10 a day, according to the report, which used data from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Belgium.

The average number of yearly disasters dropped a bit in the 2010s to 3,165, the report said.

Most death and damage during 50 years of weather disasters came from storms, flooding and drought.

More than 90% of the more than 2 million deaths are in what the U.N. considers developing nations, while nearly 60% of the economic damage occurred in richer countries.

In the 1970s, weather disasters cost about $175 million a year globally, when adjusted to 2019 dollars, the U.N. found.

That increased to $1.38 billion a year in the 2010s.

The five most expensive weather disasters since 1970 were all storms in the United States, topped by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

The five deadliest weather disasters were in Africa and Asia - topped by the Ethiopian drought and famine in the mid 1980s and Cyclone Bhola in Bangladesh in 1970.