Climate disasters caused losses of 4.3 trillion dollars in half a century

Extreme weather events have caused losses equivalent to 4.3 trillion dollars for the global economy in half a centuryaccording to data provided by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The Geneva-based body reported that the 11,788 climatic and hydrological disasters that occurred between 1970 and 2021 caused the death of two million people worldwide.

“Unfortunately, the most vulnerable communities bear the brunt of meteorological hazards,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas lamented in a press release.

According to data from this organization -which is the spokesperson for the United Nations on weather, climate and water-, 90% of deaths occurred in developing countries.

More than 60% of the economic losses recorded – and largely covered by insurance – affected the most developed economies on the planet, especially the United States, which lost 1.7 trillion dollars due to climate disasters in those 51 years .

However, for the countries with the strongest economies, in 80% of cases these disasters meant losses of less than 0.1% of GDP.

By contrast, the most vulnerable countries and small island states suffered disproportionately high costs relative to the size of their economies.

by continents, Asia is where there were the highest number of deaths associated to extreme weather events, with 984,263 deaths (47% of the world total) in the period analyzed.

Most of the time, these deaths were caused by tropical cycloneswith Bangladesh being the country with the highest mortality in Asia (520,758 deaths in half a century).

In Africa, disasters killed 733,585 people, in Europe they caused 166,492 deaths, mostly from heat waves; and in North America, Central America and the Caribbean they caused 77,454 deaths.

In South America, 58,484 deaths have been recorded in natural disasters, among which the most frequent have been the floods.

Despite these data, the WMO acknowledges that the number of deaths recorded from meteorological disasters has been declining decade after decade, and attributes this to the better functioning of early warning protocols.

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