Extreme weather and climate events caused more damage than ever before in 2017

Extreme weather and climate events caused more damage than ever before in 2017

The United Nations weather agency have reported that hurricanes, monsoons, floods and droughts made 2017 the most damaging year ever.

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) commented:

“The start of 2018 has continued where 2017 left off – with extreme weather claiming lives and destroying livelihoods”

The WMO’s ‘Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2017’ highlighted the significant effect extreme weather has had on economic development, food security, health and migration.

The statement revealed that disaster losses from weather and climate events totalled at $320 billion, the highest figure on record.

Previous reports showed 2017 to be one of the three hottest years on record, and the hottest year not influenced by an El Niño event.

Petteri Taalas highlighted some of the challenges faced in 2017:

“The Arctic experienced unusually high temperatures, whilst densely populated areas in the northern hemisphere were gripped by bitter cold and damaging winter storms. Australia and Argentina suffered extreme heatwaves, whilst drought continued in Kenya and Somalia, and the South African city of Cape Town struggled with acute water shortages”

2017 brought the costliest hurricane season of all time for the United States and also destroyed large areas of the Caribbean.

A recent article revealed that the Caribbean still requires significant amounts of support to recover from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Some of they key figures highlighted by the WMO were:

  • Over 41 million affected by floods in South Asia
  • 30% of the world’s population faced extreme heatwaves
  • Almost 900,000 were internally displaced due to drought in Somalia alone
  • Agriculture accounted for 26% of damages and lossess associated with climate related disasters

Reflecting on the findings Petteri Taalas commented:

 “Now more than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart and water-wise”


Aid & International Development Forum is hosting its inaugural Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Summit on 15-16th May 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The summit will discuss innovations and challenges in CSA practices, increasing cross industry collaboration for CSA, financial investment for CSA and much more.

Join us for the 10th Annual Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit on 5-6 September in Washington, D.C, USA. 

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Image credit: LPhot Joel Rouse

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