Who Suffers the Most from Extreme Weather Events?

A a group called German Watch just released fascinating data that makes sense of extreme weather events last year.  The group combs through piles of data to rank countries based on how affected they were by extreme weather events like flooding, heatwaves, hurricanes. The 2010 index is now out.

More than 710,000 people died as a direct consequence of more than 14,000 extreme weather events, and losses of more than USD 2.3 trillion (in PPP) occurred from 1991 to 2010 globally. In 2010–the last year for which data is complete– the following countries were the most affected by extreme weather:

You can see the amazingly high death toll in Russia. That was from the record heatwave in 2010. Pakistan and Guatemala also suffered from much flooding. As did China.

As you can see, nearly all of these most affected countries are in the developing world. The good news, such as it is, is that the international community is taking some steps to help vulnerable countries adapt to these kinds of extreme weather events. At the international climate negotiations in Cancun last year, countries agreed to create a climate change adaptation fund to help countries mitigate the effects of climate change.   The green climate fund also survived –and made out rather well–in the Durban conference last week.  Still, it will be a while until it kicks in. Until then, we can expect that extreme weather events will continue to exact a heavy toll on countries least equipped to deal with them.

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