Sunday, November 29, 2015
Weather related disasters
I came across a report from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction which found that 90 percent of all major disasters in the past 20 years were caused by weather. From floods to droughts, storms to heatwaves, a grand total of 6,457 events claimed the lives of 606,000 people, and impacted 4.1 billion others, who were either hurt, homeless, or needed help after disaster struck. The events also caused an estimated $1.89 trillion in damage. The report titled ‘The human cost of weather related disasters’ published by Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) is available at link www.unisdr.org/2015/docs/climatechange/COP21_WeatherDisastersReport_2015_FINAL.pdf .
This publication provides a revealing analysis of weather-related disaster trends over a twenty year time-frame which coincides with a period which has seen the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties become an established annual fixture on the calendar. The contents of this report underline why it is so important that a new climate change agreement emerges from the COP21 in Paris in December.
The number of deaths due to weather is troubling, and different parts of the world are getting hit with different types of weather troubles. The most common weather disaster is flooding, making up nearly half of the total events. But floods, while devastating, aren't nearly as deadly as storms, which were responsible for the deaths of 242,000 people, primarily in poorer countries. Heatwaves, on the other hand primarily affected wealthy countries, killing 148,000 people in 20 years, mostly in Europe, a continent not used to extreme heat. In Russia alone heatwave claimed more than 55,000 lives in 2010 summers.
Experts worry that events like this will continue to increase as climate change continues. Higher temperatures caused by global warming can change weather patterns and raise sea levels, putting an even greater proportion of the world's population at risk.
Better management, mitigation and deployment of early warnings could save more lives in future and there is a requirement for strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk. The Social Media because of its reach has a very important role to play in future for these activities.