• The Earth & I Editorial Team

Sobering New WMO Report: The 50-Year Toll of Global Water Disasters

Source: World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced the forthcoming release of a new report on the global impact of water-related disasters. Ahead of the publication of the WMO Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019), a selection of the key findings were shared in a press release.

The costs of water-related damage are staggering.   © j_lloa/Pixabay
The costs of water-related damage are staggering. ©j_lloa/Pixabay

The report covers a 50-year period in which the global human and economic toll from water-related hazards and disasters dominated the top-ten list of global calamities.


Of the top ten, the disasters that took the most human lives were droughts (650,000 deaths), storms (577,232 deaths), floods (58,700 deaths), and extreme temperatures (55,736 deaths).


The total economic toll from water-related disasters was staggering, with global flooding costing $115 billion and global storms costing $521 billion during the period studied. In Europe alone, floods and storms resulted in $377.5 billion in damages.

A record-breaking 2002 flood in Germany, with $16.48 billion in losses, ranked as the costliest event in Europe between 1970 and 2019.


Data from the WMO report shows that weather, climate, and water hazards accounted for 50% of all disasters, 45% of all reported deaths, and 74% percent of all reported economic losses on a global level.


“No country—developed or developing—is immune,” declared WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. “Climate change is here and now. It is imperative to invest more in climate change adaptation, and one way of doing this is to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems.”


Read more on this story from the WMO.




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