Catastrophic disasters are one of the most severe repercussions climate change, affecting lives and livelihoods all over the world.
A new UN assessment presents a bleak picture of the situation, implying that the globe will be hammered much harder in the future years by many more disasters.
According to the analysis, if current trends continue unabated, the world will see roughly 560 disasters per year by 2030, up from 400 disasters per year in 2015. The report lists calamities, many of which are weather-related, such as fires and floods, as well as other threats including pandemics and chemical spills.
“The extent, frequency, duration, and severity of climate-related risks are all increasing as a result of climate change. It has become a major cause of disaster losses and development setbacks,” the scientific paper stated, noting that the world only had 90 to 100 medium to large-scale disasters every year from 1970 to 2000.
According to the analysis, there will be three times as many intense heatwaves in 2030 as there were in 2001, as well as 30% more droughts. Meanwhile, it discussed not just natural disasters but also COVID-19, economic meltdowns, and food shortages, all of which are exacerbated by climate change.
Climate change is producing more catastrophic weather events, according to the report, which also claims that people have made judgments that are too narrow in scope and are overly optimistic about the likelihood of disasters, leaving them unprepared. Growing populations in places more vulnerable to natural disasters have further exacerbated the impact of disasters, according to the paper.
“If we don’t get ahead of the curve, we’ll reach a point where we won’t be able to manage the repercussions of a disaster,” Mami Mizutori, the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction’s chief, said, adding that people don’t realise how much disasters currently cost. According to the research, immediate relief accounts for around 90% of disaster spending, with only 6% going to recovery or reconstruction and 4 per cent on prevention.
Disasters cost the world roughly $70 billion per year in 1990. According to the authors of the report, they now cost more than $170 billion each year after inflation. That doesn’t even take into account the hidden costs that build up, according to Mizutori.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J Mohammed, who presented the report at the UN headquarters in New York, told Reuters, “The world needs to do more to factor disaster risk into how we live, build, and invest, or humanity will be doomed to self-destruction. We must move from a state of collective complacency to one of collective action.”
Disasters disproportionately affect developing countries, which lose an average of 1% of GDP per year, compared to 0.1-0.3% in rich ones, according to the World Bank report said.
The Asia-Pacific region is the worst hit, with disasters costing an average of 1.6 percent of GDP each year. In addition, developing countries are frequently underinsured. Since 1980, only 40% of disaster-related damages have been covered.