Several types of natural disasters result in more significant destruction because populations have thrived in floodplains, wildfire zones, and hot climates. More people indicate more property, which is the reason why the number of disasters with billion-dollar damage tolls is growing in the United States.
Moreover, humans are making many of these disasters more serious by changing the climate. Rising average global temperatures are deteriorating the heat waves and torrential rainfalls and rising sea levels.
“Widespread, pervasive impacts to ecosystems, people, settlements, and infrastructure have resulted from observed increases in the frequency and intensity of climate and weather extremes,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its most recent report.
Also, despite these growing risks, throughout the world, disasters, in general, are proving to be less deadly. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), “the number of disasters over the last 50 years has increased fivefold, but the number of deaths has fallen by two-thirds.”
This is an enormous achievement. It might be one of the biggest success stories in recent history. However, it’s easy to disregard. These immense achievements are the outcome of the steady, incremental work of forecasters, planners, architects, engineers, and policymakers rather than any one innovation. Also, the main metric is averted losses, something that’s often difficult to appreciate and complicated to value.