Weather disasters cost $ 20 billion more than last year, aid group says

This year’s ten costliest weather disasters caused more than $ 170 billion (19.4 trillion yen) in damage, $ 20 billion more than in 2020, a British aid group said on Monday.

Each year, the British charity Christian Aid calculates the cost of weather incidents such as floods, fires and heat waves based on insurance claims and then reports the results.

“The costs of climate change have been significant this year,” said Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s climate policy manager and author of the report. “It is clear that the world is not on the right track to ensure a secure and prosperous world.”

In 2020, the NGO found that the ten costliest weather disasters in the world caused $ 150 billion in damage, bringing this year’s total to a 13% increase. 2021 is expected to mark the sixth time global natural disasters have cost more than $ 100 billion, according to the report, citing insurer Aon PLC. These six years have happened since 2011.

The authors of the report estimated damage based on insured losses, which means that the real costs of such catastrophes are likely to be even higher. Calculations are typically more expensive in wealthy countries due to higher property values ​​and insurance, while some of this year’s deadliest weather events hit poorer countries that have contributed little to global warming. South Sudan has been hit by floods that have forced nearly a million people from their homes, while East Africa has been ravaged by drought. This highlights the injustice of the climate crisis, said Christian Aid, who warned that such events will continue in the absence of concrete action to reduce emissions.

Christian Aid said the upward trend reflects the effects of man-made climate change and added that the ten disasters in question have also killed at least 1,075 people and displaced 1.3 million people.

The costliest disaster in 2021 was Hurricane Ida, which hit the eastern United States and caused approximately $ 65 billion in damage. After crashing into Louisiana at the end of August, it headed north and caused extensive flooding in and around New York City.

Spectacular and deadly floods in Germany and Belgium in July were next on the list with $ 43 billion in losses.

A cold snap and winter storm in Texas that destroyed the vast state’s power grid cost $ 23 billion, followed by flooding in China’s Henan Province in July that cost an estimated $ 17.6 billion.

Other multi-billion dollar disasters include flooding in Canada, a late spring frost in France that damaged vineyards and a cyclone in India and Bangladesh in May.

The report recognizes that its assessment mainly covers disasters in rich countries where infrastructure is better provided and that the toll of disasters in poor countries is often incalculable.

He gave the example of South Sudan where flooding affected around 800,000 people.

“Some of the most devastating extreme weather events of 2021 have hit the poorest countries, which have contributed little to climate change,” the report’s press release notes.

In mid-December, the world’s largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, estimated that natural disasters and extreme weather events had caused around $ 250 billion in damage this year.

He said the total was a 24% increase from last year and the cost to the insurance industry alone was the fourth highest since 1970.

The Paris Agreement on global warming, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius, will only meet its targets if more urgent action is taken, according to the report. More needs to be done in 2022 to provide financial assistance to vulnerable countries, including a fund to address climate change damage – something that was not provided during this year’s global climate talks in Glasgow, according to the study. “It was bitterly disappointing to leave COP26 without a fund in place to help people who are suffering permanent losses from climate change,” said Nushrat Chowdhury, climate justice advisor for Christian Aid in Bangladesh. “Bringing this fund to life must be a global priority in 2022.”

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