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Costliest Global Climate Disasters of 2022

In 2022, there were several extreme weather events that were all fuelled by climate change. It was reported that the majority of these global weather events resulted in more than $3 billion in damages each.

Aarushi Chadha
Hurricane Ian

In 2022, we saw several climate fuelled natural disasters that led to human loss and suffering and caused significant damage to the economy and infrastructure. With no proper pushback on greenhouse gases and unregulated development, it is believed that such natural disasters will continue to increase their intensity and frequency.

Costliest Natural Disasters of 2022

Hurricane Ian

The damages caused by Hurricane Ian exceeded more than $100 billion. Hurricane Ian is considered the third-costliest tropical cyclone and caused at least 157 fatalities in total. Areas affected by Hurricane Ian include Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Southeast United States, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Venezuela, and Columbia.

The states of Florida, South Carlina, and North Carolina were the worst hit. 146 of the 157 recorded fatalities were reported in Florida alone. Much of the $100 billion damage was caused by a storm surge that was 10 to 15 ft high. The hurricane left millions of people without electricity and either completely destroyed or caused significant damage to a number of structures.  

2022 European Drought

According to a senior researcher at the European Commission, the 2022 European drought was the worst drought Europe has seen in over 500 years. This drought led to a significant decrease in crop yields which increased the prices of food grains and vegetables. It affected the procurement of products derived from animals.

European Drought
European Drought

The drought seriously affected the cooling systems of nuclear power plants, the amount of river water available for cooling down, and hydropower generation. The damages caused by the 2022 European drought are somewhere around $20 billion dollars. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Portugal, and Romania experienced drought and heat waves.

Flooding in China

The Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management reported that the floods and hailstorms in the first half of 2022 were the main reason behind $13.13 billion damages in China’s economy. In 2022, there were disastrous floods in Guangdong, Fujian, and Guangxi provinces.

Drought in China

China was named one of the most climatically vulnerable countries in the world due to the increasing frequency of natural disasters. Not only did China experience flash floods in some provinces, but it also experienced record-high temperatures and drought-like conditions.

The 2022 Drought in China led to disruption in crop growth and even threatened the health of livestock. It led to the shutting down of all factories in the Sichuan province for 6 days to ease the power shortage. It also led to malls and other commercial venues being open for a shorter period of time. This drought caused $8.4 billion in damages to the Chinese economy.

Flooding in East Australia - Pic credit (ABC)
Flooding in East Australia - Pic credit (ABC)

Flooding in East Australia

The damages caused by the 2022 Eastern Australia flooding were estimated at around $7.5 billion. The series of floods affected South East Queensland, the Wide Bay-Burnett, coastal New South Wales, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Lismore, Byron Bay, Ipswich, Maryborough, Gympie, the Central Coast, and parts of Sydney. The rapid flooding led to severe food shortages in several regions. Residents of the affected area suffered from frequent power outages as well.

Flooding in Pakistan

In total, the 2022 floods in Pakistan caused $14 billion in damages to the infrastructure and Pakistani economy. Melting glaciers and heavier-than-usual monsoon rains are considered the immediate causes of the floods. Over 1700 people died because of the floods and at least 13,000 were injured by them.

It was also reported that over 2.1 million people were left homeless because of the floods. The province of Sindh was the worst affected area. Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Punjab were also affected by the floods.   

The damages caused to the economy tend to be higher in developed countries than in underdeveloped or developing countries. While the above-mentioned disasters caused the most damage to their respective countries, there were other disasters that were far more deadly with respect to loss of human life. For instance, the drought in the Horn of Africa impacted 36 million people. And the flooding in West Africa impacted more than a million people. 

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