A tally provided by humanitarian organization Christian Aid put the cost of the 10 most expensive weather disasters of 2021 at $170 billion (150 billion).
From deadly Hurricane Ida in the United States to devastating floods in China and Europe, environmental disasters like storms, fires and heat waves have cost the world $20 billion more this year than last, the group said on Monday.
The researchers said the increased cost is the result of climate change, and added that the 10 disasters in question also killed at least 1,075 people and displaced 1.3 million others.
“A year of climate collapse”
“The climate change costs have been severe this year,” stated Kat Kramer, climate policy leader at Christian Aid and author. “Counting the Cost 2021: A Year of Climate Breakdown”
“While it was encouraging to see some progress at the COP26 summit it is not clear. [we are] not on track to ensure a safe and prosperous world,” she said.
Hurricane Ida is the most costly natural disaster
The most expensive weather disaster of 2021 was Hurricane Ida, which hit the eastern part of the United States in the summer, causing some $65 billion in damages.
After barreling through Louisiana at the end of August, it made its way northward, resulting in extensive flooding in New York City and the surrounding area.
Germany’s worst floods for decades
In July, heavy rains fell across western Germany, causing unprecedented flooding. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate was particularly hard hit, along with the neighboring countries of Belgium & the Netherlands.
Small streams and rivers turned into torrential currents, which decimated entire villages. In what was one of the most devastating natural disasters in living memory, dams threatened to burst while electricity and cellphone networks were cut off. Over 180 people died in Germany alone, and many more lost their homes and belongings.
According to Christian Aid’s report, the devastating flooding in Western Europe cost $43 billion.
North America, Turkey felt the heat
A winter storm in Texas that took out the state’s power grid caused $23 billion in damages, followed by flooding in China’s Henan province in July, which cost an estimated $17.6 billion.
Other disasters costing several billion dollars include flooding in western Canada, a late spring freeze in France that damaged vineyards and a cyclone that struck India and Bangladesh in May.
From punishing heat in North America, to wildfires raging across the Mediterranean, to record-breaking floods in Europe and Asia, 2021’s weather disasters brought home the reality of climate change, according to environmental experts.
jsi/dj (AFP, Reuters)