Billions lost in damages due to extreme weather events in 2020: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on December 28, 2020

Dwellings destroyed by cyclone Amphan in West Bengal

Of the 15 most destructive climate disasters of 2020, 10 cost $1.5 bn or more in losses, says Christian Aid

Extreme weather events influenced by climate change, have cost the world billions in damages in 2020, says a new report by the charity Christian Aid.

The report titled ‘Counting the cost 2020: a year of climate breakdown’ identified 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of the year. Ten of these disasters have each caused $1.5 billion or more in damages, as per the study.

“Most of these estimates are based only on insured losses, meaning the true financial costs are likely to be higher,” Christian Aid said in an official release.

Six of these 10 extreme weather events were recorded in Asia, while five were associated with an unusually wet monsoon.

Also read: Record climate disasters in Asia-Pacific push millions to ‘breaking point’

According to the report, Cyclone Amphan, which struck the Bay of Bengal in May caused $13 billion in losses in “just a few days.”

Floods in China and India were estimated to cost $32 billion and $10 billion, respectively.

Two extra-tropical cyclones, Ciara and Alex in Europe, together accounted for losses of nearly $6 billion.

the United States suffered from a record-breaking hurricane season and a record-breaking fire season causing over $60 billion in damages.

Storm Ciara which struck the United Kingdom, Ireland and other European countries in February caused losses totalling $2.7 billion, and killing 14.

“While the report focuses on financial costs, which are usually higher in richer countries because they have more valuable property, some extreme weather events in 2020 were devastating in poorer countries, even though the price tag was lower,” said the report.

The study further focused on increased action for urgent climate action.

Also read: Code red: UN calls for urgent shift to planet-friendly development

Report author and Christian Aid’s climate policy lead Dr Kat Kramer, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has understandably been a major worry this year. For millions of people in vulnerable parts of the world, climate breakdown has compounded this. The good news is that, like the vaccine for Covid-19, we do know how to fix the climate crisis. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, boost clean energy investment and help those who are suffering on the front line.”

“Whether it be floods in Asia, locusts in Africa or storms in Europe and the Americas, climate change has continued to rage in 2020. It is vital that 2021 ushers in a new era of activity to turn this tide,” Kramer added.

Published on December 28, 2020

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