Huge toll of extreme weather disasters in 2021

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Weather events, linked to a changing climate, brought misery to millions around the world in 2021 according to a new report.

The study, from the charity Christian Aid, identified 10 extreme events that each caused more than $1.5bn of damage.

The biggest financial impacts were from Hurricane Ida which hit the US in August and flooding in Europe in July.

In many poorer regions, floods and storms caused mass displacements of people and severe suffering.

Not every extreme weather event is caused by or linked to climate change, although scientists have become bolder in exploring the connections.

One leading researcher, Dr Friederike Otto, tweeted earlier this year that every heatwave happening in the world now is “made more likely and more intense” by human induced climate change.

In relation to storms and hurricanes, there is growing evidence that climate change is also affecting these events.

Hurricane Ida hit the US was the most financially destructive weather event of the year.

The slow-moving hurricane saw thousands of residents in Louisiana evacuated out of its path.

That storm brought massive rainfall across a number of states and cities, with New York issuing a flash-flood emergency alert for the first time.

Around 95 people died, with the economic losses estimated at $65bn.

The second most financial costly event was the widespread flooding across Germany, France and other European countries in July.

Photo – Divers of the German Life Saving Society (DLR) prepare as clearing tanks of German Army, the Technical Relief Organization (THW) and rescue workers clear wrecked cars and trucks from the B265 federal highway in Erftstadt, Germany, 17 July 2021. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

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