UN: Losses from natural disasters surge over last 20 years

GENEVA — The UN office for disaster risk reduction said Wednesday that worldwide reported economic losses from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, and other climate-related disasters surged to total nearly $2.9 trillion over the past 20 years.

UNISDR, as the office is known, said the reported loss of resources and assets like homes, factories, and farms due to more frequent and widespread climate-related disasters rose 151 percent compared to the previous 20-year period.

Climate-related disasters — such as from the impact of floods, droughts, and heat waves — accounted for $2.25 trillion of the total. That was up from $895 billion reported between 1978 and 1997.


The rest of the total came primarily from tsunamis and earthquakes — so-called geophysical disasters.

The US topped the list at over $944 billion, nearly twice the figure from China, in second.