»1,3 Millionen Menschen wurden zwischen 1998 und 2017 durch Klima- und geophysikalische Katastrophen getötet« | Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik


»1,3 Millionen Menschen wurden zwischen 1998 und 2017 durch Klima- und geophysikalische Katastrophen getötet«

Bericht des UN-Büros für Katastrophenvorsorge (UNISDR), 10.10.2018 (engl. Originalfassung)

Between 1998 and 2017 climate-related and geophysical disasters killed 1.3 million people and left a further 4.4 billion injured, homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. While the majority of fatalities were due to geophysical events, mostly earthquakes and tsunamis, 91% of all disasters were caused by floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

In 1998-2017 disaster-hit countries also reported direct economic losses valued at US$ 2,908 billion, of which climate-related disasters caused US$ 2,245 billion or 77% of the total. This is up from 68% (US$ 895 billion) of losses (US$ 1,313 billion) reported between 1978 and 1997. Overall, reported losses from extreme weather events rose by 151% between these two 20-year periods. In absolute monetary terms, over the last 20-year, the USA recorded the biggest losses (US$ 945 billion), reflecting high asset values as well as frequent events. China, by comparison, suffered a significantly higher number of disasters than the USA (577 against 482), but lower total losses (US$ 492 billion).

Such losses are only part of the story, since the majority of disaster reports to EM-DAT (63%) contains no economic data. The World Bank has calculated that the real cost to the global economy is a staggering US$ 520 billion per annum, with disasters pushing 26 million people into poverty every year. (...) While high income countries reported losses from 53% of disasters between 1998 and 2017, low income countries only reported them from 13% of disasters. No losses data are therefore available for nearly 87% of disasters in low income countries. A similar divergence in record-keeping is evident geographically. Oceania recorded losses for 51% of climate-related disasters in 1998-2017; in Africa, the figure is just 14%. Thus the economic statistics in this report are the tip of the iceberg as far as low income countries are concerned.

(...) For disasters since 2000, georeferencing has found that in low income countries, an average of 130 people died per million living in disaster-affected areas, compared to just 18 in high income countries. That means people exposed to natural hazards in the poorest nations were more than seven times more likely to die than equivalent populations in the richest nations. A similar pattern of deep inequality is revealed by georeferenced ratios of people affected (but not killed) by disasters. While the largest absolute numbers of people affected by disasters lived in upper-middle income countries, by far the highest number per 100 inhabitants lived in low income countries. Again the contrast is sharpest between low income countries (7.8%) and high income countries (1.3%), meaning that people in the poorest countries were on average six times more likely than people in rich nations to be injured, to lose their home, be displaced or evacuated, or require emergency assistance.

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