More than 475,000 people have died in the world as a result of extreme weather events since 2000
Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Bahamas, followed by Japan, Malawi and Afghanistan, were the countries hardest hit by extreme weather events in 2019, and suffered especially from strong storms and high impact tropical cyclones, according to the ‘Global Climate Risk Index 2021’ ( Global Climate Risk Index 2021) that the NGO Germanwatch presents this Monday, a few hours before the start of the Global Summit on Adaptation to Climate Change.
Spain, for its part, is ranked number 32 in the ranking, which worsens its position for the second consecutive year, since a year ago it was ranked number 38 and two years ago it was ranked number 47, according to the analysis that Germanwatch usually presents each year in the framework of the UN Climate Change Summit, something that it could not do at the end of 2020 due to the postponement of the multilateral meeting until November 2021.
The report estimates that a total of 475,000 people died worldwide between 2000 and 2019 as a direct result of 11,000 extreme weather events, such as floods, heat waves and, above all, tropical storms and cyclones, which was the event that more damage caused.
If, in addition to 2019, the countries that have suffered the most from the effects of extreme weather events between 2000 and 2019 are Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti, the most affected and those that have suffered the most losses as a result of extreme events, according to the Global Climate Risk Index. In this ranking, the one that takes into account the present century (2000-2019) Spain is ranked 29, behind El Salvador (28) and ahead of Croatia (30).
For yet another year, the Germanwatch document reiterates that the most vulnerable people in developing countries suffer the most from extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves, while climate change is already visible across the globe.
As the deadliest and costliest of the tropical cyclones in the southwestern Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Idai was labeled “one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa,” according to the UN Secretary General. , António Guterres.
‘Idai’ caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and the first two have become the most affected by these phenomena worldwide in 2019. It was the deadliest and costliest tropical cyclone in the region , with damages worth about 2,200 million dollars (about 1,807 million euros). In addition, it affected some three million people and left more than a thousand fatalities.
The Bahamas is in third place after it was devastated by Hurricane Dorian, which in September of that year became the strongest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the country. After its passage, with winds of more than 300 kilometers per hour, it killed 74 people, left more than 3,400 million dollars (2,794 million euros) in damage and affected 13,000 homes.
In this regard, Adelle Thomas, Director of the Center for Climate Change Research at the University of the Bahamas and researcher and lead author of the V IPCC Assessment Report, has stated that “unfortunately, ‘Dorian’ is an example of the changing characteristics of tropical cyclones that can be expected as a result of climate change “.
“Global warming is linked to rising ocean temperatures and rising sea levels, leading to storms that intensify quickly, move slowly, have high storm surges and high levels of precipitation. Dorian it exhibited all these characteristics with devastating effects on our people, the environment and the economy, “he explains.
For his part, the deputy director of the Global Environment Research Center of the National Institute of Environmental Studies of Japan and one of the main authors of the IPCC reports V and VI, Seita Emori, recalls that the two typhoons that hit Japan in 2019 caused record damage. In fact, the country of the rising sun occupies the fourth position in the ranking.
“Rising sea surface temperatures, driven by human-induced global warming, strengthened the typhoons of 2019,” says the researcher who believes that, while global warming continues, Japan needs to be prepared for the damage caused. by even stronger typhoons.
MORE DAMAGE TO THE MOST VULNERABLE
One of the main results of the analysis institute document, according to Germanwatch senior consultant David Eckstein, is that it reflects that poor countries are the most vulnerable and those that face the greatest challenges in managing the consequences of extreme weather events.
“They urgently need funding and technical assistance. It is therefore worrying that recent studies show that the $ 100 billion a year promised by industrialized nations has not been achieved and, secondly, they point out that only a small proportion of this funding is being achieved. it has destined to the climatic adaptation “, has added.
Therefore, he calls for the Climate Change Adaptation Summit that begins this Monday to address these problems. “Eight out of ten countries most affected between 2000 and 2019 are developing countries with low or medium per capita income,” adds the consultant.
In addition, the also Germanwatch researcher Vera Kuenzel emphasizes that the poorest countries are the most affected by damage and risks and have a lower capacity to overcome.
“Countries like Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan are repeatedly hit by extreme weather events and do not have time to recover from one before the next. Therefore, strengthening their resilience needs to be addressed in adaptation but it is also necessary to provide support to manage the losses and damages “, values.
The report also adds that, since 2000, about 480,000 people have lost their lives as a result of 11,000 extreme events and economic losses reach approximately 2.56 trillion US dollars (2.1 billion euros) -in purchasing power parities- -. Storms and their direct implications, such as rainfall, floods and landslides, were the main cause of the damage in 2019. Of the 10 countries most affected in 2019, six were hit by tropical cyclones, according to the study.
Germanwatch recalls that different recent scientific studies suggest that both the severity and the number of tropical cyclones will increase with each tenth of a degree that the global mean temperature increases.
For Laura Schaefer of Germanwatch, the global COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the fact that vulnerable countries are more exposed to various types of risks –climatic, geophysical, economic and health – and that vulnerability is systemic and interconnected “.
Therefore, he adds that it is extremely important to tackle these interconnections and strengthen the climate resistance of countries as a crucial part of this challenge and underlines that, in this regard, the Global Adaptation Summit that begins this Monday provides the opportunity to take an important step in this direction.
The Germanwatch Climate Risk Index is produced each year with annual data that calculate this level of risk from the NatCatSERVICE database of the insurance company Munich Re together with socio-economic data from the International Monetary Fund.
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