UNISDR released the report titled The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters

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Who: Report titled The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters
What: Released by UNISDR
When: 23 November 2015

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on 23 November 2015 released the report titled The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters. The report was compiled by UNISDR and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

The report depicts that over the last 20 years, 90 percent of major disasters have been caused by 6457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events.

Highlights of the report

  • It finds that the five countries hit by the highest number of disasters are the United States, China, India, Philippines and Indonesia.
  • It demonstrates that since the first UN climate change conference (COP1) in 1995, 606000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured and left homeless as a result of weather-related disasters.
  • It also highlights data gaps noting that economic losses from weather-related disasters are much higher than the recorded figure of 1.891 trillion US dollars, which accounts for 71 percent of all losses attributed to natural hazards over the twenty-year period.
  • Only 35 per cent of records include information about economic losses.
  • It estimates that the true figure on disaster losses including earthquakes and tsunamis is between 250 billion US dollars and 300 billion US dollars annually.
  • Asia accounts for the lion’s share of disaster impacts including 332000 deaths and 3.7 billion people affected. The death toll in Asia included 138000 deaths caused by Cyclone Nargis which struck Myanmar in 2008.
  • In total, an average of 335 weather-related disasters were recorded per year between 2005 and 2014.
  • The extent of the toll taken by disasters on society shows that 87 million homes were damaged or destroyed over the period of the survey.
  • It highlights that floods accounted for 47 percent of all weather-related disasters from 1995-2015, affecting 2.3 billion people and killing 157000.
  • Storms were the deadliest type of weather-related disaster, accounting for 242000 deaths or 40 percent of the global weather-related deaths, with 89 percent of these deaths occurring in lower-income countries.
  • Overall, heatwaves accounted for 148000 out of the 164000 lives lost due to extreme temperatures, with 92 percent of deaths occurring in high-income countries.
  • Drought reportedly affects Africa more than any other continent, with 136 disasters occurring there between 1995 and 2015 including 77 droughts in East Africa alone.