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Devastating earthquakes and weather related catastrophes have made 2011 the most expensive year for natural disasters in terms of global economic losses, according to Munich Re, one of the world’s most renowned reinsurance companies.
In 2011, countries such as New Zealand, Japan, the US, and Australia have encountered several earthquakes, tropical storms, tornadoes, and wildfires, which have resulted in the death of many and the loss of billions of dollars. According to Ernst Rauch, the head of Munich Re’s corporate climate center, the estimated losses from natural disasters are valued at almost $380 billion.
Moreover, the Associated Press also reported that Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March led to the insured loss of some $40 billion, while New Zealand’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake caused $13 billion worth of damage.
For many years experts have predicted that climate change would lead to several disastrous weather events. Indeed, 2011 did live up to their predictions. In a press release, Torsten Jeworrek of Munich Re said,
“We were not surprised by any of the events when seen as single events, since they were within the range of what our risk models led us to expect. The accumulation of so many severe events of this type in such a short period is unusual, but is also considered in our scenario calculations.”
Approximately 70 percent of economic losses were in Asia, with a death toll of more than 15,840. Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake led to an economic loss of $210 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster to date, according to news sources.
Currently, there is a great deal of controversy over whether global warming had something to do with 2011’s natural disasters. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that there might be link between the two, Tom Borelli of the Free Enterprise Project told The Daily Caller: “Global warming alarmists will exploit any natural disaster to promote their anti-fossil fuel agenda.” He also added that it is a part of the “global warming spin machine.”
The International Daily news reported that 90 percent of the known natural disasters were weather-related. However, most of the economic losses came from geophysical events, rather than weather related catastrophes. Munich Re said, the natural catastrophes of 2011, resulted in the death of 27,000 people, excluding those from drought in Africa and global civil war and political instability.
According to Miguel Lianos of msnbc.com, Bob Hartwig, the head of the Insurance Information Institute, told reporters that, “2011 is one for the record books, we are rewriting the financial and economic history of disasters on a global scale.”