Natural disasters cost the global economy 380 billion dollars last year, making it the costliest year ever recorded.
One of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies, Munich Re, has collected data on the cost of natural disasters since 1980. Its findings show that the financial cost of natural disasters has been rising over the past 30 years, with this year’s toll being driven by earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand.
The Japan earthquake — incurring losses of 210 billion dollars — was the costliest disaster of all times, even without including the Fukushima nuclear incident.
Since 1980, the number of earthquakes has been stable but the occurrence of floods and draughts has been rising. According to Peter Stott of the U.K. Met Office in Exeter, there is evidence that the rise of such weather-related events is linked to climate change, the New Scientist reported.
While the number of earthquakes may be stable, the cost of the damage caused by them is rising, and Munich Re points out that this is a reminder to town planners to recognize quake risks.
The economic cost of floods and storms also has risen over the past 30 years but the cost of extreme temperatures, fires and droughts has remained stable.