India recorded the third-highest number of disaster events over the past 20 years: UN Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on October 14, 2020 Published on October 14, 2020

There has been a rise in climate related disasters in these 20 years   -  REUTERS

Asia has seen the highest number of disaster events at 3,068 between 2000 and 2019

India ranks third in the highest number of disaster events recorded over the last 20 years according to the latest report published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

The report “The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019” records disaster events across the globe along with its impact of human lives and the economy.

The report has been produced with Belgium’s Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at UC Louvain.

Asia tops

According to the report, which compiles statistics from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Asia has suffered the highest number of disaster events.

Overall, the top three countries in terms of the highest number of events include “China (577 events), the United States of America (467 events) and India (321 events)”.

These are disasters which have “killed ten or more people; affected 100 or more people; resulted in a declared state of emergency; or a call for international assistance.”

“In total, between 2000 and 2019, there were 3,068 disaster events in Asia, followed by the 1,756 events in the Americas and 1,192 events in Africa,” as per the report.

According to the report, in the period 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major recorded disaster events. These events have claimed 1.23 million lives and affected 4.2 billion people, resulting in approximately$2.97 trillion in global economic losses.

Rise in climate related disasters

The report further adds that there has been a rise in climate-related disasters including extreme weather events over this time period.

Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, said, “We are willfully destructive. That is the only conclusion one can come to when reviewing disaster events over the last 20 years. Covid-19 is but the latest proof that political and business leaders are yet to tune in to the world around them.”

“More lives are being saved but more people are being affected by the expanding climate emergency. Disaster risk is becoming systemic with one event overlapping and influencing another in ways that are testing our resilience to the limit,” Mizutori added.

Professor Debarati Guha-Sapir, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain, Belgium, said: “This report covers the first 20 years of this century and does not include biological hazards like Covid-19 but it clearly highlights the level of human suffering and economic loss that result from failure to adapt to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We will have to live with the consequences of existing levels of climate change for a long time to come and there are many practical measures that can be taken to reduce the burden of disaster losses especially on low and middle-income countries that lack resources and are most exposed to economic losses on a scale that undermines their efforts to eradicate poverty and to provide good quality social services including health and education,” Guha-Sapir said.

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Published on October 14, 2020
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