SINGAPORE: Disasters sparked by extreme weather were widespread and prevalent throughout 2019, concluding a decade that the United Nations warns will be the hottest in history.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the extreme weather events around the world this year.
BUSHFIRES IN AUSTRALIA
Australian bushfires have caused unprecedented pollution along the country's east coast, blanketing cities from Sydney to Brisbane in smoke for weeks on end.
At least six people have died and more than 700 homes destroyed.
In early December, a spokesperson for the New South Wales department of environment declared that the bushfires and dust have caused "some of the highest air pollution ever seen" in Australia.
READ: Australians protest as bushfire haze sparks health concerns
The region "has experienced other periods of poor air quality that lasted several weeks", but "this event ... is the longest and the most widespread in our records", she said.
Bushfires are common in Australia, but scientists say this year's season has come earlier and with more intensity due to a prolonged drought fuelled by climate change.
The fires have spawned numerous headlines, putting the spotlight on everything from the fate of golf's prestigious Australian Open to that of the hundreds of koalas living in the fire zone.
Earlier this week, up to 20,000 protesters rallied in Sydney demanding urgent climate action from Australia's government, as smoke from the bushfires choking the city caused health problems to spike.
CYCLONES IN SOUTH ASIA
At least two major cyclones smashed into the coasts of India and Bangladesh this year, wreaking havoc with its fierce gales and torrential rains.
In May, Cyclone Fani made landfall, killing at least 34 in India and five in Bangladesh. One of the most powerful storms to hit the area in years, the cyclone destroyed houses, ripped off roofs and cut off power, water and telecommunications.
Later in November, the destruction from Cyclone Bulbul killed at least 20 people in Bangladesh. More than 2 million were evacuated from their homes.
Bangladesh’s low-lying coast, as well as India’s east are regularly faced with clones. In recent decades, at least hundreds of thousands of people living around the Bay of Bengal have been killed.
HEATWAVE IN EUROPE
A ferocious heatwave smashed records across Europe in the middle of the year, with the temperature in France surpassing 45 degrees Celsius for the first time on record.
The country, along with Spain, Italy and parts of central Europe were particularly hit by the soaring temperatures. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands all saw new temperature records as well.
The extreme temperature caused about 1,500 more deaths than usual in France over June and July, up 9.1 per cent on average for the period according to the country’s health ministry.
The World Meteorological Organisation said the heatwave in Europe was “absolutely consistent” with extremes linked to the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
FLOODING IN VENICE
On top of sweltering summer temperatures, Venice was also hit with bouts of intense flooding as it neared the end of the year.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site was hit by multiple major floods in less than a week, with water levels hitting their highest in half a century, at one point leaving about 80 per cent of the city submerged.
The crisis led to the government releasing €20 million (US$22 million) to tackle the devastation to churches, shops and homes.
“On behalf of the whole team, we stand close to the city of Venice,” said Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. He was speaking on behalf of the country’s football team, which had travelled to Venice in a show of solidarity.
Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan in October, killing more than 70 people across the country and triggering landslides, fierce wind and rain, and causing dozens of rivers to burst their banks.
Tens of thousands of households suffered electricity blackouts and more than 100,000 households were without running water.
Rescuers were working round the clock to help those affected, with the defence ministry calling up several hundred reserve troops for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The crisis led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to announce a 710 million yen (US$6.5 million) package to help areas affected by the typhoon.
More recently, the deadly Typhoon Kammuri pounded the Philippines earlier this month, killing at least 13 people, toppling trees and flattening homes.
The country's Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed for half a day as a precaution, affecting hundreds of flights, while the SEA Games 2019 saw some programming postponed.
The passage of the typhoon also intensified monsoon rains in the country's north, leaving the region hit by some of its worst flooding in decades and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.
Although the Bahamas sees multiple hurricanes a year, the strength of Hurricane Dorian took people by surprise.
At least 63 people were killed and hundreds went missing. Thousands lost their homes and schools as about 75 per cent of buildings were destroyed in the areas where the hurricane passed through.
Red Cross officials had thought the island nation was well-prepared, but the mammoth effect of the storm was not anticipated.
“We were prepared for hurricanes as we knew them to be ... (but) we could not have anticipated the strength of Dorian,” said the head of Bahamas Red Cross. She called the incident a “climate change disaster”.