Cyclone Amphan of 2020 resulted in USD 14 billion financial losses in India: UN report


United Nations, April 20

Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall in May last year near the India-Bangladesh border, was the costliest tropical cyclone on record for the North Indian Ocean, with reported economic losses in India of approximately USD 14 billion, a flagship UN report has said.

The ‘State of the Global Climate 2020′ report, released on Monday, said that extreme weather combined with COVID-19 dealt a double blow for millions of people in 2020.

However, the pandemic-related economic slowdown failed to put a brake on climate change drivers and accelerating impacts.

The year 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña event. The global average temperature was about 1.2 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level.

The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record; 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.

“This is a frightening report. It needs to be read by all leaders and decision-makers in the world. 2020 was an unprecedented year for people and the planet. It was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But this report shows that 2020 was also another unprecedented year of extreme weather and climate disasters,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at the launch of the report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The report added that with 30 named storms, the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season had its largest number of named storms on record.

“Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall on May 20 near the India-Bangladesh border in the eastern Bay of Bengal, was the costliest tropical cyclone on record for the North Indian Ocean, with reported economic losses in India of approximately USD 14 billion,” it said.

 “Large-scale evacuations of coastal areas in India and Bangladesh meant that casualties from Amphan were far lower than the number of casualties from previous comparable cyclones in the region. Nevertheless, 129 lives were lost across the two countries,” it said.

About 2.4 million people were displaced in India, mostly in West Bengal and Odisha, and 2.5 million were displaced in Bangladesh due to the cyclone, it added.

The report also noted that India had one of its two wettest monsoon seasons since 1994, with nationally-averaged rainfall for June to September 9 per cent above the long-term average. Heavy rain, flooding and landslides also affected the surrounding countries. PTI



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