Philippines hardest hit by extreme weather in 2013 - report

Cargo ships were washed ashore onto residential areas by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, central Philippines. The extreme storm wiped out or damaged practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on Nov. 8, 2013, with seven-metre storm
Cargo ships were washed ashore onto residential areas by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, central Philippines. The extreme storm wiped out or damaged practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on Nov. 8, 2013, with seven-metre storm surges destroying around 90 per cent of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LIMA (REUTERS) - The Philippines, Cambodia and India were the countries hardest hit by extreme weather events in 2013, according to a study unveiled on Tuesday at U.N. talks in Lima on a global deal to limit climate change.

The report by Germanwatch, a think-tank partly funded by the German government, said the Philippines suffered most because 6,300 people died when Typhoon Haiyan struck a year ago and caused US$13 billion (S$17 billion) in damage.

A new storm is now threatening the country.

Overall, the study found that more than 530,000 people had died worldwide from 15,000 extreme weather events in the last two decades, including floods, mudslides and droughts, with economic losses of US$2.17 trillion.

Extreme weather "is not only an issue for the distant future," Sonke Kreft, one of the authors, told a news conference. Cambodia was struck by severe monsoons and India was battered by Typhoon Phailin that wrecked US$4 billion of crops.

The United Nations' panel of climate scientists has said that the impacts of global warming can be found on every continent, with rising temperatures causing more heatwaves, downpours and rising sea levels.

Scientists say the frequency of some weather extremes is rising but that it is hard to link climate change to individual weather events. This year is on track to be among the warmest on record.

"The victims continue to be the victims," Heherson Alvarez, a delegate from the Philippines, told a news conference of the ranking, where the top spots are dominated by developing nations.

The Germanwatch study is based on death tolls from extreme weather, deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, absolute economic losses and losses as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Delegates from almost 200 nations are meeting in Lima from Dec. 1-12 to work on a deal, due to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, to combat climate change.