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10 most costly climate change-related disasters in 2022 revealed – Sky News

Droughts, floods, storms and hurricanes were among the most costly climate change-related disasters during 2022, according to a new report.

The report by Christian Aid found that the 10 most expensive events in terms of insured losses ranged in cost from $3bn to $100bn, although the figures are only estimates, so the true expense could be much higher.

Here are the 10 most costly disasters of the year:

Debris hang on the street in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian's passage through Pinar del Rio, Cuba, September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Image: Hurricane Ian in Cuba

Hurricane Ian – $100bn

Ian was a Category 4 hurricane that caused widespread damage across western Cuba and the southeast of the US. Over seven days in late September, it killed at least 150 people and made 40,000 homeless.

An aerial view shows a branch of the Loire River as historical drought hits France, in Loireauxence, France, August 16, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Image: A dried up branch of the Loire River in France

European drought – $20bn

The drought in the summer of 2022 was widely acknowledged to be the continent’s worst in 500 years, affecting food and energy production, water availability and wildlife. It also fuelled wildfires, crop losses and caused more than 20,000 excess deaths.

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Flood waters sweep through the ancient town of Feng Huang in central China's Hunan province, Saturday, June 4, 2022. State media reported some deaths and missing in flooding in the province. (AP Photo)
Image: Flooding in Hunan province, China

Flooding in China – $12.3bn

In June, southern China saw its heaviest rainfall since 1961, bringing floods and landslides and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

Cracks run through the partially dried-up river bed of the Gan River, a tributary to Poyang Lake during a regional drought in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, China, August 28, 2022
Image: The Gan River in China

Drought in China – $8.4bn

Late in August, China experienced its hottest and driest summer since records began in 1961, with more than 70 days of extreme temperatures and low rainfall badly affecting the basin of the Yangtze river, which supports more than 450 million people and a third of the country’s crops.

New South Wales still facing flooding after two weeks
Image: Flooding in New South Wales in Australia

Flooding in eastern Australia – $7.5bn

From late February through March, eastern Australian states experienced flooding that killed 27 people and displaced 60,000. Several towns in northern New South Wales, for example, had a month’s worth of rain in just six hours – and this happened while they were still struggling to recover from record flooding the month before.

A man wading through floodwater in Sindh province, Pakistan. Pic: AP
Image: Sindh province, Pakistan. Pic: AP

Pakistan floods – $5.6bn

From mid-June into September, flooding killed more than 1,700 people and displaced seven million in Pakistan. The flooding was worse because it came after a summer of record-breaking heat – meaning the ground was to dry to absorb the water.

People work to clear up damage after a tree fell on cars in Godalming, Surrey. Pic: AP
Image: Storm Eunice in Godalming, England. Pic: AP

Storm Eunice – $4.3bn

Over five days in February, Storm Eunice caused devastation across Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and the UK. Seven people were killed.

In the UK gusts of 122mph were recorded – the strongest winds in more than 30 years.

A boat is stranded by drought in Lagoa da Francesa, near the Amazonas River in Parintins, Brazil October 21, 2022
Image: Lagoa da Francesa in Brazil

Drought in Brazil – $4bn

Brazil has been in drought for most of the year – a drought that is thought to be the worst in decades. The low level of the Amazon River is a particular concern.

A person carrying a teddy bear walks along the shore line in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, Canada September 26, 2022. REUTERS/John Morris
Image: Hurricane Fiona in Newfoundland, Canada

Hurricane Fiona – $3bn

Hurricane Fiona hit the Caribbean and Canada in the later part of September, killing more than 25 people and making 13,000 homeless.

At least four international airports were shut down, roads were closed and a number of communities were cut off.

A man walks around a damaged bridge caused by flooding in Umlazi near Durban, South Africa, April 16, 2022. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Image: Flooding in Umlazi near Durban, South Africa

KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape floods, South Africa – $3.0bn

Over a week in April, 459 people were killed and more than 40,000 had to leave their homes. Water services were shut down and Durban, one of South Africa’s busiest ports, was disrupted.

The report will reignite the debate about who should pay for a ‘climate catastrophe’, with many of the disasters happening in parts of the world that are the least to blame for climate change.

There was some progress on this issue at global climate negotiations at COP27 in Egypt in November, where countries landed a historic pact to set up a fund for climate damages.

But the details of where the money comes from and who gets it are still to be agreed.

Christian Aid’s chief executive Patrick Watt said the figures in the report point to “the financial cost of inaction on the climate crisis”.

The human cost of the spiralling crisis “is seen in the homes washed away by floods, loved ones killed by storms and livelihoods destroyed by drought”, he added.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3.30pm Monday to Friday, and The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

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