Climate disasters cause global economic losses to soar, UN says

admin   •   October 11, 2018   •   2815

 

Dried out crops after three years of drought linked to El Niño in San Agustin Acasaguastlan, El Progreso Department, Guatemala | REUTERS

From 1998 to 2017 direct economic losses from natural disasters totaled $2.9 trillion, of which 77 percent was due to extreme weather that is intensifying as the world warms, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said on Wednesday (October 10).

That compares with overall losses of $1.3 trillion from 1978 to 1997, 68 percent of that accounted for by climate and weather hazards, including storms, floods, and droughts.

On Monday, climate scientists warned that if global average temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, it would lead to more suffering  especially among the world’s poorest.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather, and disasters will continue to set back sustainable development, the UNISDR report warned.

In the past two decades, 1.3 million people were killed and 4.4 billion were injured, left homeless, displaced or required emergency help.

Although rich countries shoulder the highest absolute economic losses, the report noted the disproportionate impact of disasters on low and middle-income countries with people in poorer nations seven times more likely to be killed by a disaster than in wealthier ones. — Reuters

Climate emergency remains as urgent as ever amid COVID-19 pandemic—Cimatu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2020

Climate change still remains as urgent as ever amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.

“It is like the COVID-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver,” Cimatu said on Wednesday (July 22).

The DENR also said climate change have a multiplier effect which would lead to other problems, from ecosystem stability to food production and human conflict.

“Deforestation disrupts weather patterns and the water cycle, contributes to climate change, and destroys the habitats of important species. Chemicals and waste are polluting the air, soil and water, killing millions each year,” the department said in a statement.

Cimatu said major environmental protection programs like solid waste management, reforestation and biodiversity conservation, must be consistent with the overall response to COVID-19, future pandemics and climate crisis.

“The government—through the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR—will prioritize actions and investments that will reduce long-term health impacts and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the coronavirus pandemic and climate change,” he said.

Locusts swarm across parts of India, attacking agricultural lands

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

Huge swarms of locusts took over the skies of Northern and Central India on Monday (May 25) and Sunday (May 24), affecting agricultural lands.

The pests were mostly seen across large states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

On Sunday, actions were taken in the city of Mandsaur, in central India, to contain the swarm by spraying pesticides.

One of the deadliest pests for farms produce, locusts are known to destroy crops and vegetables, and whatever they find in their way, in search of food.

Animals also get affected by eating the same leaves as the locusts and can suffer from diarrhoea.

Locust swarms are not new in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. But climate scientists say erratic weather linked to climate change has created ideal conditions for the insects to surge in numbers not seen in a quarter of a century.

If allowed to breed unchecked in favourable conditions, locusts can form huge swarms that can strip trees and crops over vast areas. (Reuters)

(Production: ANI, Hanna Rantala, Gabriela Boccaccio)

Australia to cull thousands of wild camels as they search for water

UNTV News   •   January 8, 2020

Sydney — Australian authorities began culling at least 10,000 wild camels Wednesday whose overwhelming population has endangered communities in the desert region as they try to access water amid one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.

Aboriginal areas of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) reserve, “have been unable to manage the scale and number of camels that congregate in dry conditions,” according to a statement from the Department for Environment and Water of South Australia.

An APY executive committee statement said professional snipers teams would shoot the animals in an operation set to last at least five days.

Some 10,000 wild camels approach water sources used by the area’s aboriginal population and damage their infrastructure, endangering families and communities, as well as competing with cattle.

Many of these camels die of thirst or trample each other to access water, according to the statement from the South Australia environmental department.

“The dead animals have contaminated important water sources and cultural sites (which are important for the aboriginal community, as their spirituality is deeply linked to their sacred places),” it added.

APY Lands Manager Richard King told national broadcaster ABC that they would try to kill the camels when they approach water sources.

“It gives us an opportunity to get them while they’re all together, because generally they’ll go and move around the desert in smaller herds. So while they’re all together, it’s a great time to have a cull and clean out some of the animals that are destroying some of our native vegetation,” King said.

According to tracking portal CamelScan, there are about 1.2 million wild camels in Australia, and their population doubles every nine years. According to the portal, these animals live in a area spanning 3.3 million square kilometers and cause more than AU$10 million ($6.8 million) in yearly damages.

It is not the first time Australia kills animals such as camels and horses that aren’t endemic to the country and are often a threat to the ecosystem and native species, generally composed of smaller populations that include few carnivorous animals. EFE-EPA

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