Economic Losses from Natural Disasters Total in the Trillions

May 23, 2016 | Mary Hodges

A new calculation by scientists estimates that natural disasters around the globe have resulted in roughly $7 trillion in economic losses since 1900. Their research also ascribes more than 8 million deaths to natural disasters. Such analysis, pulled from the new Integrated Historical Global Catastrophe Database, should assist governments and local public health with crisis planning and response.

A team of scientists from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany presented these findings at the European Geosciences Union meeting. Reports in more than 90 different languages were reviewed for the database. Between 1900 and 2015, roughly 40% of economic losses were a result of flooding; earthquakes accounted for about a quarter of losses; storms for about a fifth; 12% due to drought; 2% to wildfires; and and less than 1% to volcanic eruptions.

Such data will become increasingly pertinent as we continue to experience severe weather events due to climate change.


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