From locusts to cyclones: The human cost of interlinked disasters

Many extreme environmental events have a devastating effect on people’s lives, and a new UN report reveals that many of them are linked by the same underlying causes. On the day the study is released, we look at the impact of a locust swarm on a Kenyan farmer, and the ways that Cyclone Amphan affected an Indian worker.

The huge locust swarm which hit the Horn of Africa in the Spring of 2020, and Cyclone Amphan, which struck the border region of India and Bangladesh in May that year, might not seem, on the face of it, to be connected, but a report released on Wednesday by UN University, the academic and research arm of the UN, shows that there were connected underlying causes: greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, which are affecting the environment in unpredictable ways, and a lack of sufficient disaster risk management.

Both disasters took place in 2020, with the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that the effectiveness of the response to both disasters was reduced, with movement restricted for both humanitarians and victims, who also found themselves more financially vulnerable. More