Residents wade through floodwaters in Batu Berendam in Malaysia Residents wade through floodwaters in Batu Berendam in Malaysia  (AFP or licensors)

UN: Human activity leading to rise in disasters

In a new report published on Tuesday by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), it warns that humanity is on “spiral of self-destruction” as disasters rise.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Human activity is contributing to an increasing number of disasters, that’s according to a new UN report released on Tuesday.

The findings show that the world is set to face 1.5 disasters a day - 560 a year - by 2030, as humans put themselves on a "spiral of self-destruction" by heating up the climate and ignoring risk, pushing millions more people into poverty.

In the report, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), paints a grim picture of events over the last two decades. It says that in that time, between 350 and 500 medium-sized to major disasters were recorded annually, but governments are "fundamentally" underestimating their true impact on lives and livelihoods.

Many of the disasters are weather-related such as fires and floods, but also other hazards such as pandemics or chemical accidents are also a cause for concern.

Impact of Climate Change

Climate change, it notes, is causing more extreme weather events, and the impact of disasters has also been heightened by growing populations in areas more prone to natural catastrophes.

The head of UNDRR, Mami Mizutor underlines that "Raising the alarm by speaking the truth is not only necessary but crucial."

"The science is clear,” she says. “It is less costly to take action before a disaster devastates than to wait until destruction is done and respond after it has happened."

Sounding the alarm is nothing new for the United Nations. The U.N.-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned this year that climate change impacts, from heat to drought and flooding, are set to become more frequent and intense, damaging nature, people and the places they live.

This latest UNDRR report says that increasingly frequent and intense disasters have had huge repercussions on more people in the last five years than in the previous five-year period, and could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

Underlining the seriousness of the situation, Deputy U.N. Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said in a statement, "The world needs to do more to incorporate disaster risk in how we live, build and invest, which is setting humanity on a spiral of self-destruction."

As disasters continue to wreak death and devastation, the report notes that developing nations and their poorest people are suffering the most.

With many developing countries still coping with the economic impacts of the pandemic, on top of rising debts and inflation, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is calling for more global help.

26 April 2022, 13:08