The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has published a report warning that the past 50 years of extreme weather events have resulted in over two million deaths, and economic damages valued at US$4.3 trillion.
The report draws on data from the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes and the EM-DAT International Disaster Database and finds that in the past 50 years, floods, droughts and tropical cyclones have had increasingly destructive impacts to global life and livelihoods.
The results are a stark reminder of the dire need to tackle climate change – which the WMO warns is driving extreme weather events – and reduce its impacts.
“It is essential that we invest in planning, preparedness and response to extreme weather events,” said WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas. “We can no longer ignore the climate emergency which is intensifying the ferocity of these weather disasters and forcing countries to devote more resources to disaster response and recovery.”
The report finds that floods and storms have caused the largest number of deaths and economic damage over the past five decades. Despite the fact that extreme weather events are unpredictable by nature, the report highlights changes over certain time periods