Last year, natural disasters caused damage to the world at USD 210 billion, in other words more than EUR 171 billion. According to the German re-insurer Munich Re, which measures these figures annually, the United States in particular were hit hard by hurricanes and major forest fires.

The damage was significantly higher than in 2019, when USD 166 billion was involved. The amount of damage insured was $ 82 billion last year, compared to $ 57 billion in 2019. About 8200 people died in 2020 as a result of natural violence, according to the re-insurer.

In the US, natural disasters caused $ 95 billion in damage compared to $ 51 billion in 2019. The country was hit hard by tropical hurricanes, as well as severe thunderstorms and forest fires in the west of the US. All in all, six of the ten most precious natural disasters took place in the US.

The most costly natural disaster was large floods in China with USD 17 billion in damage, of which only 2% is insured. In addition, India and Bangladesh were hit by Cyclone Amphan. The total damage caused by natural violence in Asia fell by USD 67 billion less than a year earlier. At the beginning of the year, Australia had to deal with large forest fires.

In Europe, the amount of damage was relatively low with USD 12 billion, says Munich Re, although it was slightly more than in 2019. For example, it was heavy rainfall in the south of France and Italy. The re-insurer says that the heavy earthquake that hit Croatia at the end of December probably did not cause very costly damage due to the low population density near the epicentre, although there was great destruction locally. Exact estimates are still difficult to make. The earthquake killed seven people and injured 26.

Munich Re states that global warming is increasing the risk of major natural disasters, such as forest fires caused by drought and severe tropical hurricanes. The company therefore believes that more needs to be done to combat global warming.

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