Disease, accidents kill more people than natural disasters

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New Delhi, May 4 (UNI) Deaths from extreme weather events are generally lower today than they used to be globally, thanks to technological and ecnomic progress.

Mortality rates have declined by 95 per cent or more since the 1920s, says a recent report, which rubbishes the tendency to blame the climate change for extremes of weather observed in recent years.

''While extreme weather-related events garnish plenty of attention worldwide because of their episodic and telegenic nature, their contribution to the global mortality burden is only 0.03 to 0.06 per cent, says the report, analysing available US and global data.

The average annual death toll for 2000-2006 due to all weather-related extreme events was 19,900.

By contrast, the World Health Organisation estimates that in 2002, a total of 57.0 million people died worldwide from all causes, including 5.2 million from other kinds of accidents.

Out of these, road accidents were responsible for 1.2 million deaths, violence, other than war for 0.6 million, and war was responsible for 0.2 million dollars.

In fact, other public health and safety issues outrank climate change as the cause of mortality, the study said.

It found that death rates fall dramatically as wealth and technological sophistication increase.

All indications suggest that deaths from natural disaster will continue to fall as societies become more technologically and economically sophisticated.

The authors of the report give the example of Bangladesh and the Netherlands to prove their point.

Bangladesh is often used as an example of an underdeveloped country whose 130 million inhabitants are greatly at risk of global warming induced flooding because they live in a low-lying river delta.

The Netherlands too lie below sea-level but it has not experienced a flood since 1953.

Purely on the basis of inundation of from the sea, the Netherlands should be more at risk than Bangladesh, but it has not happened.

The simple reason is that the European country has been a liberal democracy for over three centuries and has benefited from more-or-less continuous economic growth during that period, which has enabled the country to invest in infrastructure which protect it from flooding, says the report produced by the London-based Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change.

The Report also dismisses the alarm raised over the severity of climate change, saying the global warming was very likely real and may cause some problems, but there was no need to panic.

The increase in global mean temperature in the range of 1 to 4 degrees would probably cause some changes to the geographical pattern of agriculture and forestry, but the cost of adaptation would not be substantial, it said.

UNI NAZ RSA HT1145

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