UN disasters

560 catastrophic disasters every year by 2030, UN warns

Story by Reuters

The world is set to face 1.5 disasters a day – 560 a year – by 2030, as humans put themselves on a “spiral of self-destruction” by heating up the climate and ignoring risk, pushing millions more people into poverty, the United Nations warned on April 26.

In the past two decades, between 350 and 500 medium-sized to major disasters were recorded annually, but governments are “fundamentally” underestimating their true impact on lives and livelihoods, according to a biennial UN report on disasters.

“Raising the alarm by speaking the truth is not only necessary but crucial,” said Mami Mizutori, head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), which published the Global Assessment Report 2022.

“The science is clear. It is less costly to take action before a disaster devastates than to wait until destruction is done and respond after it has happened,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned this year that climate change impacts, from heat to drought and flooding, are set to become more frequent and intense, damaging nature, people, and the places they live.

But measures to slash planet-heating emissions and adapt to global warming are both lagging, the panel said.

The new UNDRR report said increasingly frequent and intense disasters have killed or affected more people in the last five years than in the previous five-year period, and could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

The report covers different types of disasters caused by natural hazards – from floods, droughts and storms to earthquakes and epidemics.

“The world needs to do more to incorporate disaster risk in how we live, build and invest, which is setting humanity on a spiral of self-destruction,” said Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed in a statement.

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