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03/12/2016

Africa suffers more than any other continent from climate risks

Climate & Environment

Africa suffers more than any other continent from climate risks

Mozambique suffered exceptionally heavy rains in 2015.

[Erik Cleves Kristensen/Flickr]

Africa has been the continent hardest hit by extreme weather events over the last 20 years, according to the latest Global Climate Risk Index, published on 8 November by the NGO Germanwatch. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Four of the ten countries most exposed to climate-related disasters in 2015 were in Africa. Mozambique (1st), Malawi (3rd), Ghana and Madagascar (8th) suffered particularly heavy rain during an exceptionally intense monsoon season.

These rains caused a number of devastating landslides. In second place, the Dominican Republic was hit by the tropical storm Erika in August 2015, which wiped out a large proportion of the country’s GDP. “Climate events are not shared out in a fair way,” said Sönke Kreft, the lead author of the study.

Based on data from the German reinsurer Munich Re and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this index is calculated based on the number of extreme weather events, the number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and material damages in 180 countries.

The researchers concluded that 2015 saw more intense rain than usual, due to climate change.

Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti

Over the last 20 years, Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti have all been in the top ten for climate risk. Nine of the ten most affected countries in the last two decades have been developing countries where the average income per inhabitant is low. In tenth place, Thailand is the only high-income country in the top ten.

France came 16th in the 2015 ranking and 18th over the 20-year period, ahead of Portugal in 21st place and Italy in 25th.

A total of 528,000 people died in France between 1996 and 2015, during 11,000 extreme weather events. These events caused material damages worth more than €2,755 trillion.