Climate change causes 2 mln deaths in 50 years; poor suffer most: UN.

UNITED NATIONS -- Over two million deaths and $4.3 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), a Geneva-based UN agency, said Monday.

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 said that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States suffered a 'disproportionately' high cost in relation to the size of their economies.

'The most vulnerable communities, unfortunately, bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards,' WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

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.

WMO stressed however that improved early warnings and coordinated disaster management have helped mitigate the deadly impact of disasters. 'Early warnings save lives,' Taalas insisted.

The UN agency also noted that recorded deaths for 2020 and 2021 were lower than the previous decade's average.

Pointing to the example of last week's severe cyclonic storm Mocha, which caused devastation in Myanmar's and Bangladesh's coastal areas and hit 'the poorest of the poor'...

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