Developing countries are most impacted by extreme weather events worldwide regularly having to deal with weather catastrophes, a new report has shown.
The report by Verisk Maplecroft’s, the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) shows that nine of the ten countries most affected between 1997 and 2016 are developing countries with low or lower middle income per capita.
The report also established that 84% of the top 100 cities by population are at ‘extreme risk’, with a further 14 in the ‘high risk’ category.
Island states are the worst hit says the report.
“Recent storms with intensity levels never seen before have had disastrous impacts on island states”, says David Eckstein of Germanwatch, one of the authors of the index. “In 2016, Haiti was hit by the strongest hurricane in over 50 years and Fiji was struck by the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded on the island.
This is why Haiti ranks first and Fiji ranks third in the index of the most-impacted countries in 2016.” In many of the countries most affected by natural disasters in the past year, extreme rainfall followed periods of severe drought.
In Zimbabwe (No. 2 in 2016) for example, rain caused dramatic flooding that killed 250 people and left thousands of people homeless.
In the past 20 years from 1997 to 2016, Honduras, Haiti and Myanmar were impacted the strongest, according to the long-term index.
In this period, globally over 520,000 fatalities were directly linked to more than 11,000 extreme weather events. The economic damages amounted to approximately US$ 3.16 trillion (calculated in purchasing-power parity, PPP).
Effective climate protection is therefore also in the self-interest of these countries “, Eckstein emphasises. “For instance, the United States ranks tenth in the 2016 index, with 267 fatalities and US$ 47.7 billion in damages in that year caused by extreme weather.”
Some countries – like Haiti, India, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam – are repeatedly hit by extreme weather and have no time to fully recover. Eckstein: “Especially in smaller states, the consequences are hardly bearable.
This underlines how important it is to support poor countries in climate change adaptation as well as in dealing with climate-induced loss and damage.
Especially at a climate summit under Fijian presidency these issues have to receive the highest priority.”