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How climate shocks and stresses further burden already struggling populations

Climate-related shocks can include:

  • Natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods;
  • Waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods, or droughts;
  • Crop failure from reduced rainfall; and,
  • Spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events further burden those already vulnerable.

Such shocks also can impact those who are not poor and drag them into poverty – for example, a flood destroying a microenterprise, a drought eliminating a herd, or contaminated water making a child sick. Over 96% of disaster-related deaths in recent years have taken place in developing countries. Often, climate shocks can set back the development process for decades.