The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes
‘The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012’ describes the distribution and impacts of weather, climate, and water-related disasters and highlights measures to increase resilience. The report considers the importance of historical, geo-referenced information about deaths and damages to estimate risks before the next disaster occurs. This information is intended to support practical decisions on reducing potential impacts by, for example, improved early warning systems, retrofitting critical infrastructure, or enforcing new building codes. It is also addresses the need for stronger efforts to report, standardize and analyze data on weather, climate, and water-related hazards in order to both improve understanding of disasters, and to reinforce the platform for prevention.
The report is a joint publication of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. The study found that from 1970 to 2012, 8,835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US $2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme temperatures, floods, tropical cyclones and related health epidemics.
The Atlas compares the reported impacts of meteorological, climatic and hydrological extremes on people and economies at both the global and regional levels. It presents a worldwide analysis of extreme weather, climate and water events drawing on the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), compiled by CRED.
The worst ten reported disasters in terms of lives lost occurred primarily in least developed and developing countries, whereas the economic losses were mainly in more developed countries.
Storms and floods accounted for 79 per cent of the total number of disasters due to weather, climate and water extremes and caused 55 per cent of lives lost and 86 per cent of economic losses between 1970 and 2012, according to the Atlas.
Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. in 2005 caused the worst economic losses, at US$ 146.89 billion, followed by Sandy in 2012 with a cost of $ 50 billion.
The report was published ahead of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee Meeting (Geneva 14-15 July) for the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. It seeks to inform debate on the post-2015 framework both for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development.
Publication Date: July 11, 2014
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)