Report links weather-related disasters with climate change 2007-12-09 14:54:10   Print

Special Report: Fight against Global Warming 

    BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The equivalent of a third of the world's population has already been affected by weather-related disasters and this is set to soar because of climate change unless urgent international action is taken, according to a report issued here this week.

    Governments must commit at least 50 billion U.S. dollars every year to helping the world's most vulnerable communities prepare to save their own lives and livelihoods, says the report "Climate of Disaster" published by Tearfund, one of the UK's leading relief and development agencies.

    In the past 10 years, weather-related disasters have killed over 443,000 people, affected 2.5 billion people and cost an estimated 600 billion U.S. dollars in economic losses. With climate change increasing the number and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts, more and more people are becoming vulnerable to a range of environmental disasters, according to the report.

    Without urgent action, this trend is set to rise, leading to unprecedented levels of suffering and deaths. Poor people will be hit hardest as they are the least able to cope, and live in the most vulnerable areas of the world. With each new disaster, precious gains made in poverty eradication are swept away, warns the report.

    The following are the key highlights from the report "Climate of Disaster":

    -- Every year weather-related disasters kill an average of 45,000 people. A further 245 million people are affected through homelessness, loss of income and destruction of infrastructure.

    -- In the past 10 years, weather-related disasters have accounted for 98 percent of all those affected by disasters -- that's 2.5 billion people.

    -- Scientists predict that climate change will increase the number and severity of extreme events like floods and droughts this century.

    -- Over the last 30 years the number of the most intense hurricanes has doubled.

    -- 98 percent of those killed and affected by natural disasters come from developing countries, underlining the link between poverty and vulnerability to disaster.

    -- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) under the United Nations issued 15 emergency appeals in 2007. All but one of them was climate related. Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by OCHA were linked to climate.

    -- Simple, cost effective measures like evacuation, rescue training and storing food and medical supplies on safe ground can ensure that vulnerable communities are able to cope when disaster strikes.

    The report adds to voices for global actions on climate change as thousands of delegates from all over the world are meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is to last from Dec. 3-14.

Editor: Du Guodong
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