The United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR) in Geneva today announced that some 6,700 such disasters, including floods, storms, droughts and fires, occurred between 2000 and 2019.
Between 1980 and 1999, there were approximately 3,700 such disasters, which wreaked havoc and robbed people.
The rapid increase in the number of climate-related disasters accounts for most of the increase in the total number of natural disasters compared to the two periods.
Accordingly, the total number of natural disasters has increased from 4,200 to 7,300.
“We are deliberately destructive. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn,” said UNDRR chief Mami Mizutori.
The UNDRR also reported an increase in catastrophic volcanic activity and earthquakes since 2000.
The tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 is the deadliest disaster of this century. The tsunami claimed the lives of almost 230,000 people.
In second place in these bleak statistics is the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, which claimed the lives of around 220 000 people, and in third place is Cyclone Nargis, which killed 140 000 people in Myanmar in 2008.
The heat waves in Europe in 2003 and in Russia in 2010 killed approximately 72,000 and 56,000 people respectively.
Floods have affected 1.65 billion people since 2000, the largest number of any disaster, according to the UNDDR.
The office said improving flood control should be a priority in reducing risks and added that there were cheap and proven technologies for dam construction.
The UNDDR also called for hurricane shelters, strong wind-resistant buildings and forests to be planted.
The office also said thousands of lives could be saved thanks to early warning systems.
Strategies are also needed to help people cope with drought, the UNDDR recalled, with 40% of droughts in Africa over the last 20 years.
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