Extreme weather events, climate disasters, and water-related incidents have claimed the lives of over two million people between 1970 and 2021, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The UN agency also estimated that these disasters caused economic losses amounting to $4.3 trillion during the same period. Notably, 90% of the fatalities occurred in developing nations, emphasizing the disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.
However, the WMO highlighted that mortality rates are decreasing due to advancements in early warning systems and disaster management. The agency aims to extend early warning services to every individual worldwide by 2027, a crucial objective to be discussed at the ongoing World Meteorological Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.
Swiss President Alain Berset and representatives from various organizations will convene to address these critical issues and strive for comprehensive global coverage of early warning systems. While economic losses primarily affected developed economies, it remains imperative to address the vulnerabilities faced by least developed countries and small island developing states.
The WMO Secretary-General, Prof Petteri Taalas, cited the recent severe cyclonic storm Mocha in Myanmar and Bangladesh as a stark example of the devastating impact on vulnerable communities.
The push for universal early warning systems coverage, championed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, continues to gain momentum, with the initiative garnering support and identified beneficiaries for 2023.