United Nations, Oct 12: India has suffered economic losses of $79.5 billion due to natural disasters during the last two decades, according to the UN.
Between 1998 to 2017, two of the worst years for lower-middle income countries — a category that India falls into — were 2002 when a severe drought in India affected 300 million people, and 2015 again with a drought hitting India and other countries, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report released on Wednesday.
It warned of growing risk from climate change, which would hit developing countries the hardest.
The last 20 years have seen a dramatic rise of 151 per cent in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters, the report said.
During that period 77 per cent of the economic losses $2,908 billion were due to climate-related disasters, it said.
“The report’s analysis makes it clear that economic losses from extreme weather events are unsustainable and a major brake on eradicating poverty in hazard exposed parts of the world,” said Mami Mizutori, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Special Representative for Disaster Reduction.
The data for the report was drawn from a database maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.
The centre’s head, Debarati Guha-Sapir, said: “This report highlights the protection gap between rich and poor. Those who are suffering the most from climate change are those who are contributing least to greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The economic losses suffered by low and lower-middle income countries have drastic consequences for their future development,” Guha-Sapir added.