Extreme weather caused property damage worth W1.2tr in 2020: report

2021. 1. 29. 13:21
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Extreme weather events such as an unusually long monsoon season and frequent typhoons last year caused 1.2 trillion won of property in South Korea, according to a report by the country’s weather agency.

The Korea Meteorological Administration published a report on Thursday on last year’s extreme weather events and their social and economic impact on society, jointly with 24 related ministries and agencies. 

(The Korea Meteorological Administration)

The annual report addresses the causes of abnormal weather patterns in 2020 and climate-related damages in eight sectors ranging from agriculture, public health to transport and industries.

Last year, Korea saw the longest monsoon period since 1973, which lasted 54 days in the country’s central region, and four consecutive typhoons over a month-long period between Aug. 9 and Sept. 7, according to the report.

The heavy rainfalls and typhoons claimed 46 lives and resulted in damages to real estate, worth 1.25 trillion won, which is more than tripled from an average of 14 casualties and 388 billion won of property damage over the 2010-19 period.

The annual average precipitation was 1,591 millimeters last year, which was the sixth most since relevant data began to be compiled nationwide in 1973.

Typhoon Maysak, which battered Korea in early September last year with a maximum wind speed of 45 meters per second, caused power outages at 294,818 homes. It was nearly as twice as the number of power failures caused by Typhoon Lingling in September 2019.

Korea also reported 6,175 landslides last year, resulting in damaging 123,940 hectares of land in the harvest season. This was up from 74,165 hectares of land damaged due to landslides in 2019.

Last year’s average temperature was 13.2 degrees Celsius, which was the fifth-highest since 1973. The country also saw the warmest January on record since 1973, according to the report.

The 2020 report on weather abnormalities can be accessed at www.climate.go.kr.

“We were able to feel the gravity of climate change as the year 2020 was marked with abnormal temperatures, a long monsoon period and consecutive typhoons,” Park Kwang-suk, administrator of the KMA, said in a press release, adding that it was a reminder that “proactive action” was necessary to achieve the country’s goal to become carbon neutral.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@herladcorp.com)

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