Extreme weather events worldwide cause USD 270bn loss in 2022

Photo taken on Oct. 4, 2022 shows the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, the United States. (Photo by Rolando López/Xinhua/IANS)
Representative image. Photo: IANS

Berlin: Financial losses do not always picture the true scale of devastation caused by natural calamities. Buy they help assess the extent of the loss of properties. Hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters inflicted $270 billion in damage worldwide in 2022, less than the "extremely costly 2021" with $320 billion, a German reinsure said in a report.

"2022 joins the recent run of years with high losses," the report by Munich Re said. The costliest natural disaster in 2022 was Hurricane Ian in the US, which caused losses of around $100 billion, Xinhua news agency cited the report as saying.

"Climate change is taking an increasing toll," Thomas Blunck, member of the Board of Management of Munich Re, said in a statement. The natural disaster figures for 2022 were dominated by events that were more intense or occurred more frequently, he added.

The second costliest and greatest humanitarian disaster in 2022, with at least 1,700 deaths, was the severe flooding in Pakistan resulting from "record-breaking monsoon rainfall". Rainfall there in August was five to seven times heavier than usual, and accelerated glacier melt due to high temperatures "significantly increased the flooding". the report said.

In many countries in Europe, the summer of 2022 was marked by extreme heat and drought followed by severe thunderstorms. In France as well as in parts of Spain, heavy storms brought "hailstones the size of tennis balls" that caused losses in the billions.

Germany also saw an "exceptional year for weather" and logged one of the two warmest years on record, the National Meteorological Service (DWD) said. Temperatures were 2.3 degrees Celsius above the value of the internationally valid reference period (1961-1990). As a result, the river Rhine, Europe's busiest waterway, saw water levels fall to record lows, forcing ships to carry less cargo.

"It is difficult to quantify the indirect economic consequences of climatic events like these," Munich Re said.

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