The devastating effects of natural disasters caused by climate change is hitting the poorest the hardest, a new report reveals. Of the 443,000 people killed and 2.5 billion affected by weather-related incidents in the last 10 years more than 98 per cent of them came from developing countries.

The figures are revealed in a new report Climate of Disaster issued by the Tearfund, one of the leading relief and development agencies. Tearfund is calling on governments to commit $50bn per year to help some of the world's most vulnerable communities prepare for the destructive events such as floods and droughts brought by climate change.

Cyclone Sidr which last year struck Bangladesh hitting millions of people is the latest of more than 1,400 natural disasters in the last five years. The report says that based on past experience, Bangladesh is going to continue to be one of the worst-hit places on the planet.

Issued as the climate change conference takes place in Bali, the report says: "With climate change increasing the number and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts, more and more people are becoming vulnerable to a range of environmental disasters.

Without urgent action, this trend is set to rise, leading to unprecedented levels of suffering and deaths. Poor people will be hit hardest- they are the least able to cope, and live in the most vulnerable areas of the world. "With each new disaster, precious gains made in poverty eradication are swept away." Tearfund's Advocacy Director, Andy Atkins, said: "It is time for the international community to take stronger action to support vulnerable communities' efforts to reduce the risk of disaster.

"Airlifting stranded people from floodwaters and sending food packages to those affected by drought can no longer be our sole response to weather-related disasters.

"As a global community we have a moral responsibility to invest our aid money upfront in helping the planet's poorest people prepare for predictable disaster. If we do not, then many thousands of lives will be needlessly lost and billions of pounds of aid money will not be used to best effect."

He said it was " indefensible and illogical" not to help communities prepare for disasters when it was known which areas of the world were the most vulnerable and where sometimes whole villages could be saved by even the simplest of techniques.

"But governments are wedded to emergency responses and remain obstinately slow to invest in reducing people's vulnerability to disasters."