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The human cost of weather related disasters 1995-2015

This publication provides a sober and revealing analysis of weather-related disaster trends over a twenty year time-frame which coincides with a period which has seen the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties become an established high- profile annual fixture on the development calendar. The contents of this report underline why it is so important that a new climate change agreement emerges from the COP21 in Paris in December.

This would be a satisfying conclusion to a year which started off strongly with the adoption in March of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 which sets out priorities for action in order to achieve a substantial reduction in disaster losses. The Sendai Framework has since been followed by agreements on development financing and the ambition of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by UN Member States in September.

Climate change, climate variability and weather events pose a threat to the eradication of extreme poverty and should serve as a spur to hasten efforts not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also to tackle other underlying risk drivers such as unplanned urban development, vulnerable livelihoods, environmental degradation and gaps in early warnings.

The report highlights many key shortcomings in understanding the nature and true extent of disaster losses, particularly from drought despite the fact that it accounts for more than 25% of all people affected by climate-related disasters.