Scientists from the Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn analyzed ten devastating events of 2020 and 2021, among which they recorded many connections. In many cases, the disaster was triggered by the same anthropogenic factors.
“When people see disasters in the news, they often seem far away, but even disasters that occur thousands of kilometers apart are often related to one another and can have consequences for people living in distant places,” - said UNU-EHS Senior Scientist Dr. Zita Sebesvari, a lead author of the report.
The report shows how natural disasters sometimes reinforce each other. An example is the coincidence of a pandemic of coronavirus and a powerful cyclone in eastern India and Bangladesh. When the region was covered by Cyclone Amphan, many people avoided shelters for social distancing and hygiene reasons and stayed in dangerous places. The cyclone itself, in turn, worsened the conditions for fighting the pandemic, leading to the destruction of medical centers. The number of Covid-19 infected people has risen sharply.
The report called “Interconnected Disaster Risks 2020/2021”, identifies three specific causes for most of the disasters studied. These are greenhouse gases, inadequate disaster risk management and insufficient consideration of environmental costs and benefits when making policy decisions.
“Every disaster is ultimately caused by people. In this sense, there are no natural disasters. There are only dangerous natural phenomena. And then it all depends on how people cope with them,” said Sebesvari.
The authors of the report called on the world community to perceive natural disasters as global problems and solve them together.
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