NEW YORK, 12th February, 2016 (WAM) – A new analysis issued by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) shows that 2015 – the hottest year on record – confirmed that weather and climate-related disasters now dominate disaster trends linked to natural hazards.
The analysis found that 98.6 million people were affected by disasters in 2015, and that climate – often aided by a strong El Nino phenomenon – was a factor in 92 per cent of those events. The disasters having the greatest impact were the 32 major droughts recorded throughout the year, which amounted to more than double the 10-year annual average and affected 50.5 million people.
“The main message from this trends analysis is that reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change is vital for countries seeking to reduce disaster risk now and in the future, said Robert Glasser, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR, in a press statement.
The analysis also found that the five countries hit by the highest number of disasters in 2015 are China, with 26 disasters; USA, with 22; India, with 19; Philippines, with 15; and Indonesia, with 11.
UNISDR noted that following droughts, floods had the second-greatest impact in 2015, with 152 floods affecting 27.5 million people and claiming 3,310 lives. This compares with the 10-year average of 5,938 deaths and 85.1 million people affected.
In addition, Asia and the Pacific in particular bore the brunt of the 90 storms reported this past year, which included 48 cyclone-strength storms, attributable to rising sea levels and sea surface temperatures. Globally, storms resulted in 996 deaths and affected 10.6 million people in 2015, compared with a 10-year average of 17,778 deaths and 34.9 million people affected.