Last decade most expensive for natural disasters: Report

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake and tsunami had struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on Sept 28, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

LONDON (REUTERS) - The last decade was the worst on record for economic losses from natural disasters, amounting to US$3 trillion (S$4.05 trillion) - over a trillion more than the previous decade, insurance broker Aon said on Wednesday (Jan 22).

The Asia-Pacific region was the worst-hit in the 2010-2019 period, accounting for 44 per cent of the total, with earthquakes, tsunamis and tropical cyclones among the disasters, Aon said in a report.

More intense weather events, bigger populations in the path of disasters and greater supply chain disruption in a globalised economy contributed to the sharp rise in economic damage, Aon said.

"Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the last decade of natural disasters was the emergence of previously considered 'secondary' perils - such as wild fire, flood, and drought - becoming much more costly," said Mr Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist at Aon's impact forecasting team.

"Scientific research indicates that climate change will continue to affect all types of weather phenomena and subsequently impact increasingly urbanised areas."

Last year was the second warmest year on record for land and ocean temperatures, though Aon said economic and insured losses were lower than in the previous two years.

There were 409 natural catastrophe events totalling US$232 billion in losses in 2019, with US$71 billion covered by insurance programmes, the report said.

The Aon 2019 estimates topped those by global reinsurer Munich Re, which said last week overall natural catastrophe losses were US$150 billion, and insured losses US$52 billion.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.