Death at your doorstep

Published: Wednesday 15 October 2008

Down to Earth
Down to Earth Enlarge View
Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan particularly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions

Down to Earth Flood-risk hotspots occur in Africa, including the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, Great Lakes region, Central Africa and Southeast Africa; Central, South and Southeast Asia; and Central America and the western part of South America

Down to Earth Drought-risk hotspots are located in sub-Saharan Africa; South Asia, particularly Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India; and South East Asia, particularly Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia

Down to Earth Cyclone-risk hotspots include Mozambique and Madagascar, Central America, Bangladesh, several parts of India, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. As the frequency and intensity of cyclones increases, so will the number of communities at high risk. This will include communities further inland that are not used to coping with such disasters

Down to Earth Areas at risk from more than one climate related disaster include much of sub- Saharan Africa, especially the east coast, and much of South Asia

Down to Earth Some areas are at the risk of all three disasters. These include Southeast Africa and parts of South and Southeast Asia

Human induced climate change magnifies the risk of disasters--avalanches, extremes of temperature, droughts, floods, landslides, wild fires and wind storms--everywhere but especially in those parts of the world where there are already high levels of human vulnerability

Down to Earth Losses galore
Between 2005 and 2006, natural disasters killed 120,000 people, affected 271 million more and caused economic losses totalling us $250 billion

Down to Earth In the decade 1984-1993, 1.6 billion people were affected by natural disasters compared with 2.6 billion in the following decade (1994-2003)

Down to Earth Disaster cost between 1990 and 1999 was more than 15 times higher ( us $652 billion in material losses) than it was between 1950 and 1959 ( us $38 billion at 1998 values).

Down to Earth 68 per cent of deaths and 89 per cent of all economic losses between 2000 and 2007 resulted from weather-related disasters (Climate change threatens to dramatically increase both the number of people affected and the scale of economic damage)

Down to Earth In the near future
During the next 20-30 year period, we are likely to see

Down to Earth The number of people impacted by water scarcity may increase from 1.7 billion in 2000 to around 5 billion by 2025. Climate change will account for roughly 20 per cent of this growth

Down to Earth Intensification of the water cycle, tropical cyclones (due to higher sea surface temperatures) and a polarization of rainfall pattern

Down to Earth Longer dry periods in many parts of the world

Down to Earth Increase in the number, intensity and duration of droughts

Source Humanitarian Implications of Climate Change Report--Mapping emerging trends and risk hotspots (commissioned by CARE International and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.