Extreme weather kills almost 700 in Spain every year

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extreme weather

MADRID: Spain climbs the ranking annually of most affected countries by extreme weather conditions

Between 2000 and 2019, an average of 696 people died each year in Spain as a result of extreme weather events such as a cold or heat wave. The material damage from the severe weather in Spain is around €900million per year.

Data collected by NGO Germanwatch to compile the global Climate Risk Index shows the human and financial consequences of extreme weather in 180 countries. Worldwide, 475 thousand people died as a result of severe weather between 2000 and 2019.

More extreme weather in poorer countries

The hardest hit by exceptional weather conditions are Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti, where 161 instances of extreme weather occurred in the last ten years. These include the Hurricanes Maria in 2017, Jeanne and Sandy in 2012 and Nargis in 2008. The Climate Risk Index shows poor and vulnerable countries are more likely to suffer from extreme weather than industrialised countries.

In the ranking of countries that suffered most financially from severe weather during the period, Spain is in 29th position. Its annual average financial loss of €900million is 0.073% of the gross domestic product. In Puerto Rico and Haiti, the magnitude of the financial damage is significantly higher, at 3.3 and 2.3 percent of GDP, respectively.

More frequent storms due to global warming

Various studies indicate there is a relationship between global warming and the increased intensity of hurricanes. According to Germanwatch, recent scientific research indicates that with every tenth of a degree that the earth warms, the number of tropical hurricanes will increase.

The consequences of extreme weather are greater every year in Spain

Every year for the past ten years, Spain has risen in the rankings; from 47th in 2017, 38th in 2018 to 32nd place in 2019.  In the last four months of 2019, Spain faced severe weather several times, resulting in major flooding and damage. According to Germanwatch, 24 deaths were registered in those months and there was €3.6billion in property damage.

The Netherlands host country for international climate summit

Last Monday, the virtual international climate summit started in The Hague. On the agenda is the adaptation to the irreversible consequences of global warming.


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