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Climate change: Extreme weather causes huge losses in 2020

Climate change: Extreme weather causes huge losses in 2020

The world continued to pay a very high price for extreme weather in 2020, according to a report from the charity Christian Aid.

Against a backdrop of climate change, its study lists 10 events that saw thousands of lives lost and major insurance costs.

Six of the events took place in Asia, with floods in China and India causing damages of more than $40bn

In the US, record hurricanes and wildfires caused some $60bn in losses.

While the world has been struggling to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have also had to cope with the impacts of extreme weather events.

Christian Aid's list of ten storms, floods and fires all cost at least $1.5bn - with nine of the 10 costing at least $5bn.

An unusually rainy monsoon season was associated with some of the most damaging storms in Asia, where some of the biggest losses were. Over a period of months, heavy flooding in India saw more than 2,000 deaths with millions of people displaced from their homes.

The value of the insured losses is estimated at $10bn.

China suffered even greater financial damage from flooding, running to around $32bn between June and October this year. The loss of life from these events was much smaller than in India.

While these were slow-moving disasters, some events did enormous damage in a short period of time.

Cyclone Amphan struck the Bay of Bengal in May and caused losses estimated at $13bn in just a few days.

"We saw record temperatures in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, straddling between 30C-33C," said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.
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