Natural disasters cause greater havoc in 2019: Munich Re


AFP Frankfurt Am Main
Natural disasters, some linked to climate change, caused $9.0 billion more damage in the first half of 2019 than last year, according to a toll published Tuesday by German reinsurer Munich Re.
Between January and June, material damage mounted to $42 billion from 370 natural disasters around the globe, the financial firm said in a statement.
In 2018, disasters racked up a bill of $33 billion over the same period.
But both half-year totals remain well below the 30-year average of $69 billion.
June brought a stark heatwave to Europe, and especially Germany, harming harvests, while hailstorms inflicted 900 million euros ($1 billion) of damage in Europe.
The impact of ice showers in Greece and Italy in early July has not yet been totted up.
"A number of scientific studies indicate that heatwaves are increasing due to climate change, and hailstorms as well," said Munich Re's chief climate and geoscientist Ernst Rauch.
The reinsurer noted that tornado season in the United States had been "considerably more active than usual" with 1,200 twisters counted by the end of June, around 20 percent more than the average between 2005 and 2015.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia's Queensland state was struck with floods that inflicted $2 billion of damage.
Of the $42 billion worldwide disaster damage total to the end of June, just $15 billion was insured, Munich Re said.
And the costs of floods in southeast China in June -- likely in the "billions" -- has not yet been reckoned into the figures.
Catastrophes also cost around 4,200 human lives, 100 fewer than last year and a fraction of the 27,000 killed on average in the first six months over the past 30 years.
The most deadly disaster was cyclone Idai in March, which killed more than one thousand people mostly in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 8:05 PM IST

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