The last two decades have seen several climate-related emergencies, posing a major challenge to human life and its surrounding environment, according to a recent UN disaster report.The United Nations’ new research into disaster, has revealed that the number of natural calamities has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.
Together with a “staggering” rise in climate disasters in the first two decades of this century, the UN researchers determined that “almost all nations” have failed in combating the “wave of death and illness” caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) report, 7,348 recorded disasters occurred around the world in the last two decades. Although the better recording and reporting opportunities help to find out the increase in the number of disasters and the human and economic cost of them, UN researchers see the considerable rise in climate-related emergencies as the main reason for the spike.
Floods have constituted 40 percent of disasters while storms, earthquakes and extreme temperatures have equalled to 28, eight and six percent, respectively.
In these disasters, 1.23 million people have died, approximately 60,000 for each year, and more than four billion people have been affected. Moreover, fatality rates in developing countries have been much higher, at least four times higher than developed countries.
$2.97 trillion loss
In the previous 20-year period (1980 to 1999), the world experienced 4,212 disasters, with 1.19 million deaths, while at least three billion people were affected with economic losses reaching $ 1.63 trillion.
“This is clear evidence that in a world where the global average temperature in 2019 was 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period, the impacts are being felt in the increased frequency of extreme weather events including heatwaves, droughts, flooding, winter storms, hurricanes, and wildfires,” the report said.
Need for immediate action
Although nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases in the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries were maintaining intentionally “to sow the seeds of our own destruction, despite the science and evidence that we are turning our only home into an uninhabitable hell for millions of people”.
The report warns that the world’s current trajectory has the planet heading towards at least a 3.2-degree Celsius increase in temperature by 2100, which will trigger such extreme climate disasters that any improvements made to disaster response will be “obsolete in many countries.”
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