Billion-dollar flood losses were recorded in China, Russia, Philippines and Pakistan during August, causing an initial combined estimate of $10 billion in economic losses, according to Impact Forecasting’s latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during August 2013.
Impact Forecasting is the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield.
Persistent rainfall caused flooding across much of China during the month of August, with Heilongjiang Province sustaining much of the damage. According to available data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), nationwide totals during August showed that more than 260 people died, at least 306,000 homes and structures were damaged, and the aggregate economic loss was at least $5.3 billion.
Across China’s northeast border, torrential rains led to the worst flooding in at least 120 years in Russia’s Far East. The Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that a combined 6,964 homes and 3,762 summer cottages were damaged. More than 627,000 hectares (1.55 million acres) of agricultural land was also submerged. Total economic losses were estimated by the government at $1.0 billion.
Exceptional rains (enhanced by the passage of Typhoon Trami) also fell across the Philippines. At the peak of the event, 60 percent of metro Manila was under water. A government official estimated overall damages at $2.2 billion.
In Pakistan, monsoon rains caused significant flooding that affected more than 5,739 villages nationwide. At least 208 people were killed, 63,180 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 1.4 million acres (567,000 hectares) of crops were submerged. The government estimated economic agricultural losses alone at $1.9 billion.
“The flood events during the month of August continues a similar theme that has been observed throughout the year, as the flood peril has proven the most costly – so far – during 2013. Economic losses from flood events have equated to more than 40 percent of overall losses sustained this year. This highlights the need for insurers to further appreciate the impact of the flood peril through improved analysis and understanding of significant events and utilizing that learning curve to further strengthen the development, and usage, of catastrophe model,.” said Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting.
Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Utor made separate landfalls in the Philippines and China. The Philippines’ Luzon Island incurred damage to 21,153 homes in addition to agricultural and infrastructure economic losses topping $33 million. In China, Utor’s remnants prompted days of torrential rains in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, and Hunan provinces. Seventy people were killed as economic losses topped $2.6 billion.
A severe weather event affected the Midwest and the Plains in the United States early in August, killing at least two people. The states of Minnesota and Wisconsin were the hardest-hit, where up to baseball-sized hail and straight-line winds gusting beyond 80 mph (130 kph) were recorded. Total economic losses were estimated at $1.0 billion, with insured losses in excess of $625 million.
Further, a series of earthquakes rattled New Zealand’s upper South Island and lower North Island, causing varying levels of damage to buildings and infrastructure. No serious injuries or fatalities were recorded. The main USGS-registered magnitude-6.5 tremor struck near the town of Seddon. The New Zealand Earthquake Commission received 2,945 claims, and overall losses were not expected to be significant.
The Rim Fire became the fourth-largest wildfire in California’s history. At least 111 structures were destroyed (including 11 homes) in Tuolumne County. Total costs to fight the blaze topped $72 million.
A week of extreme winter weather left 15 people dead in Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay.
Source: Aon Benfield
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