Natural disasters: half of countries lack preparedness, says UN

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Natural disasters: half of countries lack preparedness, UN says

A man wades through floodwaters in Jaffarabad, a flood-hit district in Pakistan's Balochistan province, Monday, September 19, 2022.

Half of the world's countries lack preparedness for natural disasters because they lack multi-hazard early warning systems that can predict several types of disasters, the UN warned on Thursday.

Developing countries are even worse off even as they find themselves on the front lines of climate change, according to a new report by two UN agencies, the Office for Climate Change. Disaster Risk Organization (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Less than half of least developed countries and only a third of small island developing states have a multi-hazard early warning system.

“The world is not investing in protecting the lives and livelihoods of people on the front lines. The people who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are those who are paying the highest price.

— Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

Entire populations are taken aback by cascading weather disasters because there are no mechanisms to prevent them, he added.

Many warning systems only cover one type of natural disaster, such as floods or cyclones, but the UN stresses that investing in systems is more urgent than ever multi-risk.

These systems make it possible, for example, to warn populations against the risk of soil liquefaction after an earthquake or landslide, or to warn of an epidemiological threat following heavy rainfall.

People arrive at a drought-affected displacement camp in Somalia.

On the occasion of World Meteorological Day, which was held on March 23, the UN announced that it wanted everyone on Earth to be protected within five years by a system within five years. x27;warning against extreme weather events and climate change.

WMO is due to present at the upcoming UN climate conference, COP27 in November in Egypt , an action plan to achieve this ambitious goal.

“Extreme weather events are inevitable, but they don't have to turn into deadly disasters.

— Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

At the time this report was being prepared, Pakistan was facing its worst climate disaster on record, with nearly 1,700 dead. Despite this carnage, the death toll would have been much higher without early warning systems, argued Mami Mizutori, who heads UNDRR, in a statement.

The report categorizes countries as low, moderate, high or complete coverage of multi-hazard early warning systems, with an eightfold increase in fatality rates in the first two categories.

Steadily rising greenhouse gas emissions are fueling extreme weather events around the world, Guterres warned. And the higher the temperature of the planet, the more the frequency and intensity of extreme weather phenomena will increase.

Tens of millions of people are uprooted by natural disasters attributable to climate change.

The number of disasters has increased fivefold between 1970 and 2019 under the effect of climate change and the increase in extreme weather events, according to a previous WMO report.

This trend is expected to continue, warned the Secretary General of the WMO x27;WMO, Petteri Taalas.

“Early warning systems are a proven climate adaptation measure and efficient way that saves lives and money.

— Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General

The report also recommends that warning systems be faster. He also advises building the capacity of communities at risk to act faster and investing in improving access to technologies to enhance threat monitoring.

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