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UN warns that world risks becoming 'uninhabitable hell' for millions

October 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

There has been a "staggering" rise in natural disasters over the past 20 years and the climate crisis is to blame, the United Nations said Monday.

(CNN)There has been a "staggering" rise in natural disasters over the past 20 years and the climate crisis is to blame, the United Nations said Monday.

Between 2000 and 2019, there were 7,348 major natural disasters -- including earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes -- that claimed 1. 23 million lives, affected 4. 2 billion people and resulted in $2. 97 trillion in global economic losses, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

That's almost double the 4,212 disasters recorded from 1980-1999, the UN said in its new report The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019.

The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters' Emergency Events Database characterizes a natural disaster as having at least 10 or more people reported killed, 100 or more people reported affected, declaration of a state of emergency, or a call for international assistance.

The vast majority of those disasters were climate-related, with researchers reporting more flooding, storms, droughts, heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires in the past 20 years.

"It is baffling that we willingly and knowingly continue to sow the seeds of our own destruction," said UNDRR chief Mami Mizutori and Debarati Guha-Sapir of Belgium's Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, in a joint foreword to the report.

Asia was the worst hit from climate disasters in the past 20 years, suffering from 3,068 disaster events between 2000 and 2019.

The worst affected country over the past two decades is China, which experienced more than 500 natural disasters, followed by the United States, with 467 disaster events.

They called on countries to do more to strengthen disaster risk governance and to better prepare for future climate catastrophes.

That projected temperature increase is enough to increase the frequency of extreme climate events across the world, the report said, rendering any improvements to disaster response or climate adaptation "obsolete in many countries. "

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