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Climate-driven weather disasters inflicted billions in damage in 2021, study says

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Climate-driven weather disasters inflicted billions in damage in 2021, study says
The roof of a nearby building is seen in a street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, La., on August 30 after Hurricane Ida. File Photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Climate change-related weather events worldwide in 2021 caused billions of dollars in damage, according to an annual study by a British non-government organization published Monday.

In the report, titled "Counting the cost 2021: a year of climate breakdown," Christian Aid said that 10 weather events this year -- ranging from Hurricane Ida in the United States, flooding in Europe and Asia and droughts in Latin America -- killed more than 1,000 people and displaced about 1.3 million.

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Hurricane Ida, the Category 4 storm that hit the Louisiana coast and later caused deadly tornadoes and flooding in the Northeast, caused $65 billion in damage along, according to the report.

Severe flooding in Europe, which killed more than 40 people in Germany in July, caused some $43 billion in losses.

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The report said that China's Henan province saw $17.5 billion in damage from flooding and displaced more than one million residents.

Flooding is seen in Erftstadt-Blessem, Germany, on July 16 after major thunderstorms in the western German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. File Photo by Rhein-Erft-Kreis via EPA-EFE

The study noted that Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay saw the critical Parana River reach its lowest level in 77 years because of drought, which inflicted damage to the nations' economies.

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"This is a powerful and important report. It is eye-opening to have these climate impact stories of 2021 collected together and the estimates for cost of lives, livelihoods and community, which is irreversibly altered when people are displaced," Heidi Steltzer, professor of environment, sustainability and biology at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, said in a statement.

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"Climate change will bankrupt us, and along the way, we will lose so much more than money," added activist Rachel Mander, a member of the Young Christian Climate Network.

"To avoid this eventuality we need to take courageous action -- making sure that the burden of costs are distributed and do not worsen global inequality, while also making activities which drive climate change more expensive."

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