News Column

US Bore Brunt of Global Natural Disaster Losses in 2012 - Survey

Jan. 3, 2013

The United States bore the brunt of last year's natural disasters, accounting for two-thirds of 160 billion dollars in worldwide damages, Munich Re said Thursday.

The German company and world's largest reinsurance group said superstorm Sandy caused 50 billion dollars in damage. Drought, Sandy and other disasters in the US caused 67 per cent of last year's global disaster damage.

However, the global total for natural disaster losses was down from 400 billion dollars in 2011.

In an average year, the US accounts for 32 per cent of worldwide damage, partly a reflection of the high value of its property. Munich Re said that if it had not been for Sandy, which slammed into New York on October 29, it would have been an exceptionally safe year.

It said the worldwide death toll from last year's disasters was 9,500, compared with the average of 106,000 annually over the past decade.

Munich Re said this was because comparatively few disasters hit developing or emerging nations, where death tolls from a storm or an earthquake are generally far higher than when a wealthy nation is hit.

Typhoon Bopha in December in the Philippines was the worst single event with more than 1,000 deaths.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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