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2009-12-08

Report: Burma, Yemen and Vietnam Hardest Hit by Extreme Weather in 2008

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The World Meteorological Organization announced today that 2009 will likely be the fifth warmest on record and the first decade of this century the hottest since records began.
Meanwhile, here in Copenhagen, the environmental group Germanwatch issued a new report ranking the countries hardest hit by extreme weather based on socioeconomic data. For 2008, Burma topped the list, followed by Yemen and Vietnam. The United States ranked fifth, higher than any other industrial nation. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The World Meteorological Organization announced today that 2009 will likely be the fifth warmest on record and the first decade of this century the hottest since records began.

Meanwhile, here in Copenhagen, the environmental group Germanwatch issued a new report ranking the countries hardest hit by extreme weather based on socioeconomic data. For 2008, Burma topped the list, followed by Yemen and Vietnam. The United States ranked fifth, higher than any other industrial nation. The study also looked at the hardest hit nations over the past eighteen years.

Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke spoke with Christoph Bals, political director of Germanwatch.

    CHRISTOPH BALS: First of all looked at the last year. This is the last year, where we have good data at the moment; it’s for year 2008. And Burma, or Myanmar, Yemen and Vietnam were the three countries which were most affected in 2008.

    But then, we also have looked to the period from 1990 to 2008, so from the first IPCC report until today. And there, it’s Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras which were the first three countries. And, of course, this is much more worth to see, is this period of eighteen years, than just one year, where there’s a lot of [inaudible] data for this one year in the datas here.

    MIKE BURKE: And where does the United States stand on this index?

    CHRISTOPH BALS: The United States is one of the most affected industrialized countries. There are two reasons for this: because of the costs — if there is a hurricane in the US, that there are very high costs for this; but also, and this is very interesting, that there are a lot of people dying there. And these are, again, the most vulnerable people, the most poor people, in the regions affected mainly by hurricanes.

    So this is really an indication that — we the same also in Europe in the big heat wave 2003, where more than 70,000 people died in Europe because of this. And also there, it were the most vulnerable people, the most poor people, old people, who died there. And so, we see the same trend as we see in the global picture, that the poorest and most vulnerable people, of course, are the most affected people also in the rich countries.

AMY GOODMAN: Christoph Bals is the political director of Germanwatch. He spoke with Democracy Now! senior producer Mike Burke.

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