Some 138,377 Indians died between 1970 and 2021 in 573 climate-related disasters, the second-highest number in Asia after Bangladesh, a new analysis by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) showed on May 22, 2023.

Some 520,758 Bangladeshis died due to 281 events in these 51 years, a statement by the WMO said. Myanmar recorded the third-highest number of human casualties in Asia, mostly to the 2008 Cyclone Nargis which struck its Irrawaddy delta region and killed 138,366.

China had the fourth-highest number of casualties — 88,457 due to 740 events. Almost a quarter of deaths resulted from a flood in 1975.

The numbers were part of updated data in the WMO’s Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water-related hazards. The figures were released even as the World Meteorological Congress, the supreme body of the WMO, started its quadrennial session on May 22.

The WMO also revealed that extreme weather, climate and water-related events caused 11,778 reported disasters between 1970 and 2021, with just over 2 million deaths and US$4.3 trillion in economic losses. Over 90 per cent of the death toll was recorded in developing countries.

“The most vulnerable communities, unfortunately, bear the brunt of weather, climate and water-related hazards,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Asia reported the greatest number of disasters attributed to weather, climate and water extremes — 3,612. It recorded 984,263 deaths (47 per cent of all deaths worldwide), with tropical cyclones being the leading cause of reported deaths. These disasters cost the continent US$1.4 trillion in economic losses.

North America, Central America and the Caribbean reported the second-highest number of extreme weather events (2,107). These resulted in 77, 454 deaths and US$2 trillion in economic losses. Between 1970 and 2021, the region accounted for 46 per cent of reported economic losses worldwide. The United States alone incurred US$1.7 trillion, accounting for 39 per cent of losses worldwide in the 51 years.

Read the full article about deaths due to extreme weather by Rajat Ghai at Eco-Business.