Disasters affect 100 million people in 2015

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Robert Glasser, centre, speaking to journalists at the UN in Geneva. Photo: UN/Daniel Johnson

Natural disasters affected almost 100 million people by last year, UN experts said Thursday, before warning that 2015 – the hottest year on record – is a sign for governments to take action now.

The data, released by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in partnership with CRED, shows that the most disaster-hit countries in the previous 12 months were China, India, Philippines and Indonesia.

In economic terms, UNISDR estimates that natural disasters cost around USD 66 billion.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Latest data on the human impact of natural hazards in 2015 shows that nearly 100 million people were affected, and that they claimed more than 22,000 deaths.

Colossal as these figures might be, they are in fact well below the 10-year trend, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The associated economic damage was also much more limited, at USD 66.5 billion, compared with the USD 140 billion average.

That's partly because of much better prevention measures put in place by governments.

So much for the good news, the bad news is that 2015 was the warmest on record, the result of climate change and the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Here's UNISDR head Robert Glasser:

"The most disturbing trend we see now is the doubling in 2015 of the number of recorded major droughts…."

More than 50 million people faced drought last year, a 40 per cent jump, according to UNISDR, which said that the main message from the data was that reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change were vital to reduce disaster risk.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'07"


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