The world economy lost more than $100 billion in 2012 due to the impact of extreme disasters.
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said that for the first time in history, the world has experienced three consecutive years where annual economic losses have exceeded $100 billion due to an enormous increase in exposure of industrial assets and private property to extreme disaster events.
According to the agency’s latest report, 310 disasters killed more than 9,300 people in 2012 and affected 106 million others and cost $138 billion, despite the the fact that the year particularly marked “no mega-disasters” in terms of human impact.
At a press conference, UNISDR Director, Elizabeth Longworth said “A review of economic losses caused by major disaster events since 1980 shows that since the mid-90s there has been a rise in economic losses and this has turned into an upward trend as confirmed by the losses from last year when, despite no mega-disaster such as a major urban earthquake, economic losses are conservatively estimated in the region of $138 billion.”
The UNISDR said that 63 percent of the economic losses were in the Americas, mainly due to Hurricane Sandy ($50 billion) and the drought ($20 billion).
It adds that Europe was also hit by two long cold waves at the beginning and end of the year killing almost 1,000 people and Africa was severely affected by drought but also by floods such as those in Nigeria which took over 300 lives.