UNESCO has several programmes and activities in place that deal with the study of natural hazards of hydro-meteorological origin and the mitigation of their effects. Among these hazards – the results of natural processes or phenomena of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature - are floods, tropical cyclones, drought and desertification. Due to global climate change these natural hazards are expected to rise.
Floods affect every country, and cause more fatalities and more property damage than any other type of sudden-onset hazard. In addition to causing injuries and deaths, floods can disrupt water purification and sewage disposal system, and cause toxic waste sites to overflow. Floods affect some hundred millions of people and their livelihoods and claim thousands of lives annually worldwide. More
Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are severe storms that form over tropical water. Windstorm-related events worldwide cause an average of 30,000 deaths and US$ 2.3 billion in damage each year. More
Droughts are slow-onset events that can cause large agro-ecological damage and seriously disrupt socio-economic life. Droughts are episodic, striking parts of all countries every few years. Africa is most often hit by drought. During the last two decades, millions of Africans died due to the consequences of drought, and millions more were forced to abandon their land.