Dubai: Over two million deaths and USD4.3 trillion in economic losses; that’s the impact of a half-century of extreme weather events turbo-charged by man-made global warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday (May 22). According to WMO, weather, climate and water-related hazards caused close to 12,000 disasters between 1970 and 2021. Developing countries were hit hardest, seeing nine in 10 deaths and 60 per cent of economic losses from climate shocks and extreme weather.
WMO issued its new findings on the human and economic cost of weather-induced disasters for its quadrennial World Meteorological Congress, which opened on Monday in Geneva with a focus on implementing the UN’s Early Warnings for All initiative.
WMO said that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States suffered a “disproportionately” high cost in relation to the size of their economies. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said,
The most vulnerable communities, unfortunately, bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards
In Least Developed Countries, WMO reported that several disasters over the past half-century had caused economic losses of up to 30 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
In Small Island Developing States, one in five disasters had an impact “equivalent to more than five per cent” of GDP, with some disasters wiping out countries’ entire GDP.
Asia saw the highest death toll due to extreme weather, climate and water-related events over the past 50 years, with close to one million deaths – more than half in Bangladesh alone.
In Africa, WMO said that droughts accounted for 95 per cent of the reported 733,585 climate disaster deaths.
The initiative aims to ensure that early warning services reach everyone on Earth by the end of 2027. It was launched by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP27 climate change conference in Sharm al-Sheikh in November last year.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.