Climate change, disease threaten millions: UN
Worsening floods and storms accounted for about four-fifths of the total from 2000-2019 but major increases were also recorded for droughts, wildfires and heatwaves.
“We are wilfully destructive. That is the only conclusion one can come to”, with action on climate change and other major threats lagging, said Mami Mizutori, the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative for disaster risk deduction.
“COVID-19 is but the latest proof that political and business leaders are yet to tune into the world around them,” she added in a statement.
In the past 20 years, there were nearly 7,350 major recorded disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis, which claimed more than 1.2 million lives and affected 4.2 billion people.
They caused almost $3 trillion in global economic losses – close to twice the amount in the preceding two decades.
In a joint foreword to the UN report, Mizutori and Debarati Guha-Sapir of Belgium’s Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters noted disaster management agencies had nonetheless saved many lives through better preparedness.