Natural disasters cost world $232 billion in 2019: Report

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on February 04, 2020

File photo of the destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall, in Puri, on Friday, May 3, 2019.   -  KSL

Death toll in India was the highest at 1,750

The world lost as much as $232 billion due to natural disasters in 2019, with India leading in casualties with 1,750 deaths, said a recent report by AON, global professional firm which provides risk solutions to insurance firms, among other things.

According to its report, Weather, Climate Catastrophe Insight for 2019, there were a total of 409 natural disaster events in 2019 and the monsoon floods in India was the deadliest among them, followed by cyclone Idai, which killed 1,303 300 people in southern Africa and turned two million people homeless. There were a total of 41 disasters in 2019 that cost more than $1 billion in economic losses.

Fury of Cyclone Fani

Another major calamity in the global top 10 disasters list last year was Cyclone Fani that affected Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, apart from Bangladesh. About 72 people reportedly died in the severe cyclonic storm which lashed between the last week of April and early May.

The economic loss to the country due to the destructive monsoon last year was estimated at $10 billion, whereas the Cyclone Fani resulted in a cumulative loss of $8.1 billion to India and Bangladesh, the report said.

Globally, the insured loss was $71 billion, with Japan, hit by two devastating typhoons, accounting for $15 billion alone in insurance events. But the insured losses from natural disasters in 2019 were significantly lower than the record $157 billion in 2017 and $100 billion in 2018.

Inland flooding; tropical cyclone

The costliest individual peril was inland flooding at nearly $82 billion. It was closely preceded by the tropical cyclone ($68 billion). Five of the top 10 costliest disasters of 2019 were flood-related: spring and summer flooding in the US, separate seasonal monsoon floods in China and India, and a major flood in Iran. Those five events alone accounted for more than $53 billion in direct economic impact, it said.

Three costly tropical cyclone events also occurred, each of which resulted in a minimal $10 billion economic cost: Typhoons Hagibis and Faxai in Japan; and Hurricane Dorian inNorth America, with a majority of losses occurring in The Bahamas. Typhoon Lekima in China resulted in a loss of $9.5 billion. Additional major events included destructive tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean Basin — Cyclones Fani, Idai and

Bulbul (Matmo) contributed to the global economic toll by more than $14 billion. Due to many structures being poorly built in these areas, and limited insurance coverage, the affected regions suffered a heavy humanitarian impact.

Similarly, the economic loss due to severe weather events and droughts during 2019 was $41 billion and $23 billion respectively.

The year 2019 was also the second warmest for land and oceans since 1851, with average temperature hovering over 0.95 degree Celsius — above the 20th century average.

The 2010-2019 decade marked the costliest in the modern record for global natural disasters on a nominal and inflation-adjusted basis. Total direct economic damage and losses tallied $2.98 trillion during this decade. This was $1.1 trillion higher than the previous decadal period (2000-2009); $1.8 trillion.

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Published on February 04, 2020
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