Environment, drought, floods, hurricanes: 2022 recorded 387 natural hazards worldwide that affected 185 million people

Environment, drought, floods, hurricanes: 2022 recorded 387 natural hazards worldwide that affected 185 million people

ROME - In 2022 the database that records disasters in the world EM-DAT counted 387 natural hazards and calamities, which killed 30,704 people and affected a total of 185 million. Economic losses amount to about $223.8 billion. Heatwaves have caused more than 16,000 deaths in Europe, while drought has affected 88.9 million people in Africa. Hurricane Ian alone caused $100 billion in damage to the Americas. The human and economic impact of disasters was relatively higher in Africa with 16.4 per cent of the death toll compared to 3.8 per cent in the previous twenty years. The impact has been relatively lower in Asia, despite the region experiencing some of the most destructive natural events of 2022.

Comparison with previous years. The total of 387 catastrophic events in 2022 is slightly higher than the average for 2021, which counted 370. The total toll of over thirty thousand victims in 2022 was three times higher than in 2021 but lower than the average recorded between 2002-2021, when there were 60,955 dead. This latest data was determined by some of the most violent disasters of recent decades such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which left 222,570 people dead.

Extreme heat in Europe. Heatwaves mainly kill the elderly. In Europe, estimates are of around 16,305 dead, or half of the total death toll from natural disasters in 2022. There were at least five record-breaking heatwaves in Europe last summer, with temperatures reaching 47C .

Drought and famine in Africa. Drought-induced food shortages in Uganda left 2,465 dead, making it the second-deadliest disaster in 2022 after European heatwaves. In addition, the drought has affected 88.9 million people in six African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso. Spikes of extreme heat and water shortages have also occurred in China, where 6.1 million people have been affected and economic losses worth seven billion dollars have occurred; in the USA, with losses of twenty-two billion and in Brazil, with financial damages amounting to four billion.

The floods in Pakistan. Floods between June and September affected 33 million people, causing 1,739 deaths and $15 billion in economic damage. Monsoon floods also occurred in India, causing 2,035 deaths and $4.2 billion in economic losses, in Bangladesh, with 7.2 million people affected, and in China, with losses amounting to $5 billion. In Nigeria, floods killed 603 people at an economic cost of $4.2 billion, while in South Africa, 544 lives were lost. February floods in Brazil killed 272 people and floods in eastern Australia between February and March cost $6.6 billion.

The storms. Last year, the world saw the passage of three major cyclones, including two in the Philippines: tropical storm "Megi" in April, with a death toll of 346, and "Nalgae" in October, with 3.3 million of people affected. Hurricane Ian, on the other hand, touched the United States causing damages for 100 billion dollars. It was the costliest natural disaster of 2022.

The earthquakes. These too were not lacking in 2022 and were among the most serious events of the year. The earthquake in southeast Afghanistan in June, for example, claimed 1,036 lives and the one in Indonesia killed 334. Finally, the Fukushima earthquake caused damages of 8.8 billion dollars, making it the episode with the fourth highest economic impact.

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