Natural disasters caused much less financial damage worldwide in the first half of this year than in the same period last year. According to German reinsurer Munich Re, most of the damage again came from the United States, where violent hurricanes caused billions of dollars in damage.
More damage than usual occurred in Asia and the Pacific, including flooding and record levels of rain on Australia’s east coast in February. An earthquake in the spring in Japan also caused severe damage amounting to about 8.8 billion dollars. Damage worldwide as of June totaled $65 billion, 40 percent less than the $105 billion in the first half of last year. At 34 billion, the insured damage was about the same as in previous years.
In Europe, the biggest problems were caused by drought, heat and winter storms. Storm Eunice and two other storms in February caused severe damage in the Netherlands. Winter storms in Europe combined cost more than 5 billion. According to Munich Re, damage from heat and drought is difficult to estimate because, for example, production losses only become apparent later.
The number of deaths caused by natural disasters in the past six months was about 4,300, which is more than in previous years. An earthquake in Afghanistan in June killed about 1,200.
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