In Depth

Extreme weather of 2019 - in pictures

Environmentalists say climate crisis is exacerbating natural disasters

Two Australian states have declared a state of emergency as more than 120 bushfires rage across the east of the country.

Three people have been confirmed dead and thousands forced out of their homes because of the “catastrophic” threat to the highly populated areas, says the BBC.

But the worst danger is still to come, with officials warning that areas around Sydney will face potentially fatal bushfires on Tuesday.

The Australian conservative government has refused to acknowledge that climate change could have played a part in the spread of the blazes.

Australia’s deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said that residents “don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time, when they’re trying to save their homes”.

The fires are just the latest incident in a year of extreme weather that has seen a record seven million people worldwide displaced in the first six months alone, says The New York Times.

“In today’s changing climate, mass displacement triggered by extreme weather events is becoming the norm,” said the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, which compiles data from governments, United Nations humanitarian agencies and media reports.

The Californian 2019 wildfire season is still running, with more than 6,400 blazes recorded by officials. At least three people have been killed in the fires, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, the Bahamas is recovering from Hurricane Dorian, which in September became the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the country, claiming at least 60 lives and causing more than $7bn of damage.

In Europe, widespread heatwaves this summer saw temperature records set in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the UK. The French health minister said that 1,500 more deaths than average had been recorded during the period of extreme heat, reports The Guardian.

And the UK has now been hit by heavy rain that has caused flooding in parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands. Former High Sheriff of Derbyshire Annie Hall died after being swept away by floodwater last week. 

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