Natural disasters at decade low in 2009-UN report

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Richard Cowan
Reuters
Tuesday, Dec 15th, 2009

The world this year suffered the fewest number of natural disasters in a decade, but floods, droughts and other extreme weather continued to account for most of the deaths and economic losses, according to a United Nations report released on Monday.​

There were 245 natural disasters recorded this year, down from the decade high of 434 in 2005, said the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The figures were released mid-way through an international climate conference in which 192 nations hope to nail down new firm targets for reducing carbon pollution, which is blamed for a long-term trend in more extreme weather.

Of the 245 disasters, 224 were weather-related and accounted for 7,0000 deaths out of the 8,900, according to the preliminary figures. The weather-related deaths, which exclude geological events such as earthquakes and volcanoes, caused $15 billion in damages, out of a total of $19 billion, the report said.

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