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Costs of climate-related disasters have more than doubled in the last two decades, says UN in Switzerland

The economic cost of climate-related disasters hit $2.25 trillion over the last two decades, an increase of more than 150 percent compared to the previous 20 years, the UN said Wednesday October 10th in Geneva.

Costs of climate-related disasters have more than doubled in the last two decades, says UN in Switzerland
An Indian commuter drives his motorbike along a flooded street during heavy rainfall in Jalandhar on August 1st, 2017. Photo: Shammi Mehra/AFP.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) noted that “climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events” such as floods and storms.  

Between 1978-1997, total losses for climate-related disasters was $895 billion (€780 billion), UNISDR said in a report by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.

But between 1998-2017 that figure hit $2.25 trillion (approximately €1.95 trillion), the report said, listing the United States, China, Japan and India as the countries where the financial toll has been highest. 

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Geneva, the world's incubator for peace and policy since 1920 

The findings were released as Michael, a Category Four hurricane, rumbled towards the Gulf Coast of Florida, in the latest storm to threaten vast destruction across the eastern US. 

“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,” the UN secretary general's special representative for disaster reduction, Mami Mizutori, said in a statement. 

UNISDR counted the number of climate-related disasters between 1998-2017 at more than 6,600, with storms and floods the most common events. 

The report notes gaps in data collection, but says the findings clearly show investing in disaster risk reduction must become a central part of policy making in response to climate change.

READ MORE: Switzerland is rapidly losing its snow (and climate change is probably to blame)

WEATHER

Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week

Despite the sunshine of late March, winter has made a comeback in Switzerland. Here’s is what’s ahead this week.

Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week

Swiss residents going through the latter stages of March, with its sunny skies and ‘Sahara dust’ would have been forgiven for thinking the time was right to put the winter jacket away. 

However, winter-like weather is back in Switzerland, having swept across the country as March turned into April. 

Around 50cm of snow fell on parts of Switzerland over the past few days, bringing with it unseasonably cold temperatures to wipe out the springlike weather of late March.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in April 2022

Swiss meteorological service MeteoNews reported that the snowfall brought welcome relief, particularly in central and lower Valais, in parts of Ticino and in most of Graubünden, cutting the risks of forest fires. 

This week temperatures are expected to rise but only slightly, with MeteoNews forecasting between 7 and 10 degrees and rain through Tuesday.

Wednesday should be sunny and about 13 degrees, followed by changeable and windy weather in the second half of the week.

After that, temperatures should continue to increase, with 20 degrees forecast for much of the country from mid-April onwards. 

It is too early to forecast with certainty what the weather will be like over Easter, but we will keep you posted!

You can follow the forecast for your area here.

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