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30 November 2011

Climate mugs Mozambique

Image: Google Maps

Mozambique is the only African state shown in red on a world map of countries most affected by extreme weather.

The map was released at the United Nations climate change conference in Durban on Tuesday.

Drawn by Germanwatch, it forms part of the seventh edition of the Bonn-based non-governmental organisation's Global Climate Risk Index (GCRI).

The red colour indicates South Africa's northeast neighbour was among the top 20 countries affected by extreme weather -- including events such as flooding, drought, heat waves and severe storms -- from 1991 to 2010.

A table in the index ranks Mozambique 19th in the world when it comes to the death and losses -- relative to its population size and its GDP --that it has suffered as a result of this.

It shows the country suffered 50 extreme weather events, which cost it 1745 lives and US96 million (about R802m) in losses over the two decades.

Over the same period, South Africa was struck by 307 such events, at a cost of 1216 lives and US242m (about R2 billion)in losses.

The index looks at only the direct impact of the weather events, and not the often much stronger indirect impact.

It also contains a section on the impact of climate change on African countries, which notes the continent is particularly vulnerable, although most of them score low on the GCRI.

"In the African regions, indirect impacts like food scarcity as consequence of droughts often cause the most severe consequences which cannot be considered with sufficient reliability in the data that provide the basis for the climate risk index," it states.

According to the index, the three countries most affected by severe weather between 1991 and last year were Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras.

All of the top 10 were developing countries.

- Times Live