Extreme weather events have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, taking a heavy human and economic toll worldwide, and are likely to wreak further havoc, the UN has said. Globally, 7,348 major disaster events were recorded, claiming 1.23 million lives, affecting 4.2 billion people and causing $2.97tn (£2.3tn) in economic losses during the two-decade period. Drought, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and extreme temperature fluctuations were among the events causing major damage
Heatwaves and droughts will pose the greatest threat in the next decade, as temperatures continue to rise due to heat-trapping gases, experts said.
China (577) and the US (467) recorded the highest number of disaster events from 2000 to 2019, followed by India (321), the Philippines (304) and Indonesia (278), the UN said in a report. Eight of the top 10 countries are in Asia.
"...The bad news is that more people are being affected by the expanding climate emergency,” said Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction.
Debarati Guha-Sapir of the centre for research on the epidemiology of disasters at the University of Louvain, Belgium, which provided data for the report, said: “If this level of growth in extreme weather events continues over the next 20 years, the future of mankind looks very bleak indeed.
“Heatwaves are going to be our biggest challenge in the next 10 years, especially in the poor countries,” she said.