Press Release | 27 November 2012

Loss and damage from extreme weather events: Asian developing countries hit hardest in 2011

Germanwatch publishes new Global Climate Risk Index at COP18 in Doha

Doha, 27.11.2012: Most damages resulting from weather extremes are often not recognised by international media, unlike Sandy's destruction at the U.S. east coast a few weeks ago. But in 2011, poorer developing countries have been hit much harder in average, according to the new edition of the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index. The ranking, which was presented today at the UN climate summit in Doha, concludes that Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan and El Salvador are on top of those countries that suffered most from extreme weather events in 2011. In Thailand, exceptionally extreme rains caused damages of more than USD 75 billion and caused almost 900 deaths.

Sven Harmeling, Team Leader International Climate Policy with Germanwatch: "Losses and damages from extreme weather events are the reality today in particular in developing countries. The findings of the Germanwatch Climate Risk Index underline this fact. Recent science results also tell us that climate change is an increasing factor in the occurrence of very heavy events. In Doha, we need serious progress in the negotiations on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, on increasing support for adaptation, and the kick-off for the development of an international mechanism to address loss and damage." Harmeling also hoped that the catastrophe in Thailand may lead to an increased awareness. "Thailand is one of the few countries which has not yet submitted a concrete pledge to limit its emission growth", adds Sven Harmeling.

The long-term ranking from 1992-2011 lists Honduras, Myanmar and Nicaragua as the most affected countries regarding fatalities and losses. For the first time, Bangladesh is not among the top three anymore, but the fourth country in the ranking. Sven Harmeling: "The extreme storm catastrophe in 1991 caused more than 140,000 deaths, but it is no longer considered in the 20-year analysis. However, the country is also one of the few examples which has undertaken multiple activities with and without external support to better prepare for climate change. It shows that active adaptation to climate change can help reduce loss and damage."