Honduras, Myanmar, Haiti top risk list: Climate group

Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti were the most afflicted by climate disasters between 1995 and 2014, said the latest edition of the annual index.

Le Bourget (France): Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti top a new list of nations hardest hit by two decades of storms, floods, landslides and droughts that killed more than half a million people, climate analysts reported Thursday, warning of more frequent disasters if Earth's overheating cannot be tamed.

Scientists point to the mounting threat from storms, floods, droughts and rising seas if mankind cannot brake emissions from heat-trapping greenhouse gases, especially from fossil fuels.

A red-flag to negotiators from 195 countries trying to broker a global climate-saving pact in Paris, the Bonn-based advocacy group Germanwatch released the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index showing those nations most affected by the direct consequences of extreme weather events.

Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti were the most afflicted by such disasters between 1995 and 2014, said the latest edition of the annual index.

Next were the Philippines, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand and Guatemala.

Altogether, more than 525,000 people died as a direct result of about 15,000 extreme weather events, the report said.

Losses amounted to more than USD 2.97 trillion (2.8 trillion euros), it said.

Honduras tops the list partly because it is in the Central American hurricane belt.

Although Honduras endured fewer extreme events than the Philippines, Bangladesh and some other disaster-prone nations, its financial losses as a percentage of its national economy were the highest.

The analysis only looked at the direct results of extreme weather, it stressed, whereas the indirect consequences of extreme weather such as drought and famine resulting from heatwaves can be much more deadly.

It shows only one piece of the puzzle and is not a comprehensive index of vulnerability to climate change, researchers stressed.

For example, the study does not take into account sea-level rise, glacier melting or more acidic and warmer seas.

A growing body of research connects global warming and extreme weather, Germanwatch said.

"The Climate Risk Index thus indicates a level of exposure and vulnerability to extreme events that countries should understand as a warning to be prepared for more frequent and/or more severe events in the future," the report said.

Germanwatch urged negotiators at the November 30-December 11 UN climate conference in Le Bourget on the northern outskirts of Paris to reach a universal deal to avert a climate catastrophe.

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