Weather-related disasters increased dramatically over the last 50 years, UN

Weather-related disasters are striking four to five times more often than they did 50 years ago. This is according to a report from the United Nations.

The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) report which was released on Wednesday looked at more than 11,000 weather disasters between 1970 and 2019, based on data from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

It found that destructive events including storms, flooding and drought are causing seven times more damage than in the 1970s. But the report found that they’re killing far fewer people.

In the 1970s and 1980s, these events killed an average of about 170 people a day worldwide, but in the 2010s that dropped to about 40 per day.

A disaster-related to a weather, climate or water hazard occurred every day on average over the past 50 years – killing 115 people and causing $202 million (£146 million) in losses daily, it found.  

“The number of weather, climate and water extremes are increasing and will become more frequent and severe in many parts of the world as a result of climate change,’ said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas in the new report’s foreword.

“That means more heatwaves, drought and forest fires such as those we have observed recently in Europe and North America. We have more water vapour in the atmosphere, which is exacerbating extreme rainfall and deadly flooding.”