Aon Monthly Cat Recap Highlights Asia Floods, Atlantic Storms

September 3, 2010

Aon Benfield’s latest release of its Monthly Cat Recap report, which provides an analysis of global natural perils in August, reports the month was “dominated by historic floods in Pakistan destroying over 1.25 million homes, a massive landslide in China that killed at least 1,467 people and tropical storm activity in the Atlantic and the Western Pacific.”

Hurricane Frank developed off the southern Mexico coastline and brought heavy rains and gusty winds, impacting at least 30,000 people, while Hurricane Earl developed in the Atlantic Ocean and affected parts of the northern Leeward Islands while glancing Puerto Rico. At least 187,000 people lost electricity and another 60,000 people were without water.

An active rainy season triggered widespread flooding and landslides in Nicaragua, leading to the deaths of at least 37 people and affecting 4,300 homes. Also, over 25,000 wildfires blazed across parts of Bolivia during the month, which were ignited by residents who burned large tracts of land to increase areas of cultivation. The fires charred more than 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of land and forced the closure of 28 of the nation’s 39 airports due to reduced visibility.

In Europe, wildfires and peat bog fires continued to burn across parts of Russia during the first half of the month as the death toll reached 52. The fires damaged at least 3,000 homes, buildings and vehicles as economists noted that total economic losses could reach RUB448 billion ($15 billion). Also, widespread flooding affected parts of Central Europe when at least 15 people were killed in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Lithuania after consecutive days of heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms.

It was in Asia, however, that the most catastrophic events occurred. Aon’s report notes that “monsoonal rains continued to fall in Pakistan which led to additional flash flooding and landslides. At least 1,677 people were killed as an additional 2,605 were injured. In what was described as the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history, at least 1.25 million homes were damaged or destroyed and over 6.9 million hectares (17 million acres) of crop lands were submerged.”

Preliminary estimates indicate that the “economic loss and reconstruction costs could approach PKR1.73 trillion ($20 billion),” Aon said. “Monsoonal rains also destroyed at least 3,000 homes in Indonesia, 10,000 homes in Indian-held Kashmir and triggered a large mudslide in northern India killing 18 children In China, heavy rains across several sections of the country led to fresh rounds of flash flooding and landslides.

“Floods during the month in Gansu, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces left at least 829 people dead along with damage to nearly 800,000 homes and over four million hectares (9.8 million acres) of cropland. Total economic losses were estimated at CNY108 billion ($16.02 billion). The torrential rains also led to a series of massive landslides in northwest China’s Gansu Province that left at least 1,467 people dead, 2,000 injured and another 298 missing.

“Tropical Storm Dianmu crossed the Philippines before making a final landfall in South Korea, destroying at least 3,000 homes and more than 159,000 hectares (393,000 acres) of farmland, while Tropical Storm Mindulle hit Vietnam, killing at least 10 people and injuring 64 more”.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting, which prepared the report, commented: “The historic floods in Pakistan and the continued flooding and landslides in China show the devastating consequences of an active monsoon season.

“We are also beginning to see the forecasted heightened tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean, which will continue to be an area of focus as we approach the most active portion of the Atlantic hurricane season. With an active 2010 in terms of natural catastrophes, insurers and reinsurers need to continue to rely on catastrophe modeling to further enhance their understanding of natural catastrophe risks.”

Source: Aon Benfield

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