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