The human cost of climate-related disasters is acutely undercounted, new study says

new study published in Nature Medicine looks directly at the human health impacts from severe weather like hurricanes, floods, and intense storms. Using Medicare records before and after weather disasters that incurred more than $1 billion of damages from 2011 to 2016, researchers found that six weeks after a storm, the death rate in counties with the greatest destruction was 2 to 4 times higher than in less impacted areas. The analyses didn't include wildfires and droughts, because the long duration of such events complicates the statistical analyses, nor did it include heat---the biggest weather-related killer in the US. While the result is an under-count, the process of gathering this data is a start in identifying and systematically tracking the real costs of climate disasters. This information will help policymakers, hospital directors, and city planners build resilience in our communities to help protect people. Read more in this article: by Alejandra Borunda for National Public Radio’s Climate Newsletter