Weather Disasters Have Increased Five-Fold in the Past 50 Years

It doesn’t matter if you believe climate change is a natural or a human-made occurrence. Over the past five decades, the total number of weather-related disasters has multiplied by five times. 

The only good news from that data is that fewer deaths have occurred while the number of droughts, floods, and storms has increased.

Although better reporting could be partially responsible for the data increase, over 11,000 weather-related disasters occurred between 1970 to 2019. Two million people lost their lives, with over $3.6 trillion in damage requiring repair. 

More than 90% of the deaths have happened in the developing world. 

Droughts Are the Most Significant Weather Problem We Face

The biggest killer from adverse weather events is drought. It’s responsible for over 650,000 deaths.

At the other end of the scale, extreme temperature events have taken almost 56,000 lives during the study period. 

Although the number of deaths has gone down, so has the total number of recorded disasters. A steady increase happened up through 2009, but the next decade showed a decrease. That means a message of hope is out there within the stark statistics.

That’s not to say the costs of climate change are decreasing. In 2017, three hurricanes accounted for 35% of the total losses from the ten worst disasters from 1970 to 2019.

With only half of today’s countries having access to multi-hazard early warning systems, we must expand this technology to help people stay safe. International cooperation is also required to ensure that the people and families displaced by weather events can find a new place to call home.