THE calamitous Pakistan floods of 2022 were the tenth most expensive climate disaster to have buffeted a nation over the last decade, according to risk modelling firm RMS.

The floods inflicted an estimated loss of $3 billion on the country, caused over 1,700 deaths and displaced eight million people.

Poor countries like Pakistan, which saw around eight million people displaced, often bear the brunt of devastating weather events, RMS said in its observation.

The firm carried out a survey to rank the 10 biggest natural disasters to have hit humanity over the last decade.

Also read: At COP27 summit, PM Shehbaz seeks climate compensation, debt relief for Pakistan

The survey was carried out in the backdrop of deliberations at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt last week to hammer out a “loss and damage” mechanism that would determine, in monetary terms, the extent of destruction suffered by a country due to climate change.

The summit also discussed measures to disburse money to poor countries to enable them to cope with the aftermath of a disaster.

The costliest disaster of the past decade was the California wildfires of 2017-18, with damages estimated to be around $328.5bn. This was followed by the Atlantic hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in Aug-Sept 2017, which caused losses of $297bn. The Australian bushfires of 2019-20 cost $110b.

This year’s Hurricane Ian that struck Florida in Sept 2022, Hurricane Ida that struck Louisiana, New Jersey and New York in Aug 2021, floods in Germany and Belgium in July 2021, Japanese typhoons Faxai and Hagibis from Aug-Oct 2019, this summer’s European heatwave and the North American heatwave from summer 2021 were also on the top ten.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2022

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