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October 13, 2020 - Almost twice as many natural disasters have been reported in the past 20 years compared to the preceding two decades, with climate change largely to blame for the rise, according to a UN report.
The organisation warned that if the world doesn’t get to grips with the climate emergency, the situation will continue to worsen.
Between 2000 and 2019, there were 7,348 natural disasters recorded globally, which was almost twice as many as between 1980 and 1999, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said.
Climate-related disasters were responsible for the bulk of the rise, increasing from 3,656 (1980-1999) to 6,681 (2000-2019).
While the number of deaths from natural disasters hasn’t greatly increased in the last two decades (1.19 million between 1980-1999 compared to 1.23 million between 2000-2019) the number of people affected has shot up, from 3.25 billion to 4 billion.
China and the United States reported the highest number of disasters, followed by India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. These countries have relatively high population densities in at-risk areas, the report said.
The years 2004, 2008 and 2010 were the most devastating, with more than 200,000 deaths in each of these years.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the deadliest event, killing more than 220,000 people.
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