Bangladesh records over 500,000 deaths due to extreme weather since 1970: WMO

  • World
  • Wednesday, 24 May 2023

DHAKA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh has the highest death toll from extreme weather, climate and water-related events in Asia, recording 520,758 deaths from 281 events between 1970 and 2021, according to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published on Monday.

The WMO issued the report for the quadrennial World Meteorological Congress, which opened on Tuesday with a high-level dialogue on accelerating and scaling up action to ensure that early warning services reach everyone on Earth by the end of 2027.

"Asia accounted for 47 percent of all reported deaths worldwide, with tropical cyclones being the leading cause of reported deaths. Tropical cyclone Nargis in 2008 led to 138,366 deaths," the report said.

Extreme weather, climate and water-related events caused 11,778 reported disasters between 1970 and 2021, with over 2 million deaths and 4.3 trillion U.S. dollars in economic losses, it said.

According to the report, over 90 percent of the reported deaths worldwide occurred in developing countries.

"The most vulnerable communities unfortunately bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards," said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.

"In the past, both Myanmar and Bangladesh suffered death tolls of tens and even hundreds of thousands of people. Thanks to early warnings and disaster management, these catastrophic mortality rates are now thankfully history. Early warnings save lives," said the secretary general.

The WMO report said the United States alone incurred 1.7 trillion dollars in economic losses, accounting for 39 percent of the total worldwide in the 51 years.

It said Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States suffered a disproportionately high cost in relation to the size of their economies.

Improved early warnings and coordinated disaster management have slashed the human casualty toll over the past half a century although economic losses have soared, according to the report.

The WMO compiled the figures as an update to its Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, which initially covered the 50-year period 1970-2019, based on the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters' Emergency Events Database.

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