Earthquake News

Climate Change

Are you terrified of so many disasters? Worse is on the way, according to the UN.

According to a United Nations assessment released Monday, a disaster-weary world will be impacted harder in the coming years by even more disasters clashing in an interconnected world.

According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction's scientific research, the world will go from roughly 400 disasters per year in 2015 to around 560 disasters per year by 2030 if current trends continue. According to the paper, from 1970 to 2000, the world had only 90 to 100 medium to large-scale disasters per year.

According to the analysis, there will be three times as many intense heat waves in 2030 as there were in 2001, as well as 30% more droughts. COVID-19, economic meltdowns, and food shortages are among the natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. According to the authors of the paper, climate change has a significant impact on the number of disasters.

People do not realize how much disasters cost today, according to Mami Mizutori, the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction's chief. "If we don't get ahead of the curve, we'll reach a point when we won't be able to manage the disaster's effects," she said. "We're stuck in a never-ending circle."

That implies society must reconsider how it finances, manages, and discusses disaster risk, as well as what it values most, according to the research. In a Monday interview, Mizutori claimed that emergency relief accounts for about 90% of disaster costs, with reconstruction and prevention accounting for only 6% and 4%, respectively.

According to Mizutori, not every hurricane or earthquake needs to develop into a calamity. Planning and prevention can prevent a lot of damage.

Disasters cost the world roughly $70 billion per year in 1990. According to the authors of the report, they now cost more than $170 billion each year after inflation. That doesn't even take into account the hidden costs that build up, according to Mizutori.

Because of greater warnings and prevention, disaster mortality have been continuously dropping for years, according to Mizutori. However, disaster deaths have increased "significantly" in the last five years, according to paper co-author Roger Pulwarty, a climate and social scientist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That's because both COVID-19 and climate change disasters have reached locations where they weren't expected, such as tropical cyclones in Mozambique, according to Mizutori. It's also how calamities interact with one another, increasing harm, such as wildfires combined with heat waves or a war in Ukraine combined with food and fuel shortages, according to Pulwarty.

According to Pulwarty, the current spike in yearly disaster mortality could be temporary if society adjusts how it thinks about risk and prepares for disasters; otherwise, it's likely "the new normal."

Poorer countries are struck harder by disasters than wealthy countries, with recovery expenses eating up a larger share of the economy in countries that can't afford it, according to co-author Markus Enenkel of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

"These are the kinds of occurrences that can undo years of hard work and send already vulnerable communities or entire regions into a downward spiral," he warned.

"In a world of mistrust and disinformation, this is a vital to moving forward," said Susan Cutter, co-director of the University of South Carolina Hazards Vulnerability and Resilience Institute, who wasn't involved in the paper. "We can make progress in reducing the underlying risk drivers: inequity, poverty, and, most importantly, climate change."

 

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