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Climate-fuelled disasters bring ‘grave’ costs across the globe in 2022

Floods, storms and drought also killed and displaced
millions of people across some of the world’s poorest regions, highlighting the
rising injustice of impacts as the planet warms, humanitarian charity Christian
Aid said in a report.

“The costs of climate change have been grave this
year,” said Kat Kramer, climate policy lead at Christian Aid and author of
“Counting the cost 2022: a year of climate breakdown”.

“While it was good to see some progress made at the
(UN) COP26 summit, it is clear (we are) not on track to ensure a safe and
prosperous world,” she added.

The report identified 15 of the most destructive climate
disasters of the year, including 10 that each caused $1.5bn or more in losses,
with damage wrought by wild weather felt everywhere from Australia to India,
South Sudan and Canada.

The financial and human costs of climate change are expected
to keep soaring unless governments step up efforts to cut emissions and rein in
global warming, the report said.

Growing calls from at-risk nations to establish a new fund
to help cover climate-linked “loss and damage” in a hotter world must
be a “global priority” in 2022, said Nushrat Chowdhury, Christian
Aid’s climate justice advisor in Bangladesh.

Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a
Nairobi-based think-tank, noted Africa had borne the brunt of some of the most
devastating – if not the most expensive – impacts this year, from flooding to
drought.

“(2022) needs to be the year we provide real financial
support for those on the frontline of the crisis,” he added.

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Here are some facts about the most costly disasters of 2022:

  • Hurricane Ida, which struck the United States in
    August, topped the list for damage at $65bn. The fifth-strongest hurricane to
    make landfall in the country killed 95 people and left many with destroyed
    homes and no power. In addition, a winter storm that hit Texas in February
    caused a massive power outage and racked up $23bn in losses.
  • Severe flooding that swept western and central Europe
    in the summer of 2022 caused huge losses of $43bn and a death toll of more than
    240. Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries were hit by
    extreme rainfall that scientists say was made more likely and frequent by
    global warming.
  • Four of the 10 most expensive disasters occurred in
    Asia, with the costs of floods and typhoons in the region adding up to a combined
    $24bn.
  • Some of the disasters hit quickly and forcefully.
    Cyclone Yaas, which struck India and Bangladesh in May, led to $3bn in damage
    in just a few days, and forced more than 1.2m people to evacuate from their
    homes in low-lying areas.
  • In China, torrential rains in the central province of
    Henan caused huge floods in July, with damage of $17.6bn and 302 reported dead.
    The rain that fell in the provincial capital Zhengzhou over three days was
    nearly equivalent to its annual average, inundating its subway system.
  • The real costs of extreme weather are likely to be more
    than the report’s estimates, which are mostly based on insured losses. The
    financial hit tends to be bigger in rich nations which can afford insurance and
    have higher property values.
  • Some weather extremes have a low financial burden but a
    high human toll, especially in the most vulnerable places. For example, floods
    in South Sudan from July to November forced more than 850,000 people from their
    homes, many of whom were already displaced by conflict or other disasters.
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Source: Christian Aid, “Counting the cost 2022: a year
of climate breakdown”

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