Politics

Natural disasters quadrupled in past two decades.

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“More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago,” said Oxfam today, largely blaming global warming for the increase in severe weather:

The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report. […]

The number of people affected by extreme natural disasters, meanwhile, has surged by almost 70 percent, from 174 million a year between 1985 to 1994, to 254 million people a year between 1995 to 2004, Oxfam said.

Floods and wind-storms have increased from 60 events in 1980 to 240 last year, with flooding itself up six-fold.

“This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people,” added Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.