8:07 AM PDT, September 6, 2021
If it seems like more weather-related natural disasters are happening, that’s because they are.
According to the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization, the number of these disasters has increased fivefold over the past four decades.
The WMO just published its Atlas study, a comprehensive survey of weather disasters, including floods, storms and heatwaves. They note that weather disasters have resulted in over two million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses.
“The number of affected people in economic loss is getting higher and higher because of the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events,” Mami Mizutori, of the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction agency, points out.
“There were heat waves, and there were floods, so we are not, unfortunately, in a safe place. And the report tells us that the 50-year trend is quite, quite alarming.”
The study also found that the rate of disasters is accelerating and that human-caused climate change is the culprit. Climate change can exacerbate existing conditions and can weaken natural and human defenses against extreme events.
The WMO hopes its report will help inform the policies of governments around the world on protecting people and the environment.