The economic cost of climate change and how cyclones exacerbate it

During the global pandemic of COVID-19, India weathered Cyclones Amphan and Tauktae; and now Cyclone Yaas. Cyclone Yaas too may pass but the economic loss and damage caused by it will linger on for a long time. The economic cost of climate change can be seen in the ever-growing losses caused by cyclones.

As a result of global warming, cyclones are proving to be the worst accounting for major loss of lives as well as economic damage.

According to RMSI, a global consulting firm working on natural calamities, Cyclone Tauktae caused a loss of about Rs 15,000 crore with the agriculture sector is the most hit. Gujarat and Diu were the most affected regions.

Also read: Odisha, West Bengal brace for impact as Yaas intensifies into severe cyclonic storm

The RMSI report states that Gujarat and Diu accounted for over 50 percent of the losses while Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Goa were partially affected. Agricultural, ports, transportation and utility sectors suffered the most.

Cyclone Amphan, which wreaked havoc in several eastern Indian states in May 2020, earned the notoriety of being the world’s costliest natural disaster at an estimated economic loss of over one lakh crore rupees (as per Aon catastrophe report, titled Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half of 2020, released on July 23, 2020).

The Aon report stated that Amphan was amongst the 200 plus natural disasters, which were recorded in the first half of 2020 and cost the world an estimated $75 billion. Incidentally, the 207 natural disasters in the first half of 2020 was the highest in the 21st century and more than the average of 185 disasters every year for the years 2000 to 2019.

Also read: How insurance plans protect you against natural disasters like Cyclone Tauktae?

The economic loss due to cyclones is proving to be the costliest with India and China suffering over $20 billion of losses together while the US accounted for $12 billion losses in the first half of 2020, as per the Aon report.

The ‘State of the Global Climate 2020’ WMO report by the UN also pegged Cyclone Amphan as the costliest tropical cyclone on record for the North Indian Ocean, with reported economic losses in India of approximately over one lakh crore rupees.

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