Global natural disasters cause $160 billion in damage in 2018

Global natural disasters caused $160 billion in damage in 2018 and climate change was a factor in the final tally, a new report released by German Insurance Company Munich Re says. In its annual report, the company estimates the cost of disasters that include weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and earthquakes.

As with the previous year the United States suffered the heaviest losses from disasters globally. Wildfires dealt $24 billion of damage in California, while Hurricanes Florence and Michael accounted for a combined $30 billion.

Also, Japan hit by an unusually high number of natural catastrophes. In 2018 Japan suffered at the hands of both weather-related disasters and geophysical natural catastrophe, including at least seven typhoons that either skirted or hit the country’s islands. The costliest was Typhoon Jebi with overall losses of $12.5 billion, making it the fourth costliest worldwide.

Another important data that we can highlight is that Europe was spared dramatic one-off disasters in 2018, but a long summer drought inflicted around $3.9 billion in direct losses, especially in agriculture.

Munich Re notes that human-caused climate change is playing a role in the devastation felt worldwide from disasters.

“2018 saw several major natural catastrophes with high insured losses. These included the unusual phenomenon of severe tropical cyclones occurring both in the U.S. and Japan while autumn wildfires devastated parts of California. Such massive wildfires appear to be occurring more frequently as a result of climate change. Action is urgently needed on building codes and land use to help prevent losses”, Munich Re Board member Torsten Jeworrek said.

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