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2020, a record year for natural disasters

Globally, natural disasters caused more losses in 2020 than in the previous year due to a particularly intense hurricane season and major forest fires.

Globally, natural disasters caused more losses in 2020 than in the previous year due to a particularly intense hurricane season and major forest fires.

(pj with AFP) – The German reinsurance giant Munich Re has done its accounts: in one year, the bill for damage caused worldwide by natural disasters stood at 171 billion euros last year. Much more than the 2019 record which was already set at 135 billion euros. Of this total, the insured amount was 67 billion. In other words, the uninsured portion of natural losses in 2020 was around 60%.

These disasters also made last year some 8,200 dead in the world, notes the Bavarian cabinet. Of the ten most costly claims, six occurred in the United States. Hurricane Laura, which hit western Louisiana at the end of August with winds of 240 km / ha alone caused 10.6 billion euros in losses (or half of the state budget Luxembourgish, for comparison).

The hurricane season in the North Atlantic has been “hyperactive,” Munich Re notes, with a record 30 storms, of which 13 have reached hurricane status. Forest fires raged in the western United States, Colorado and California. In this state, the area burned was more than four times higher than the average for the years 2015 to 2019, killing 47 people.

Elsewhere, flooding in China during summer monsoon rains caused about 14 billion damage, of which only about 2% was insured.

In Europe, overall losses amounted to 9.8 billion euros (of which 2.9 billion insured). Heavy rains hit the Mediterranean coasts of southern France and Italy in the fall, destroying hundreds of houses, bridges and roads. 2020 is also marked by the earthquake in Croatia. On December 29, the country suffered the strongest shock in 140 years.

For Luxembourg, specialists have noted as the main event that the passage, between February 9 and 11, of the storm Ciara. Wind squalls, however, much less destructive than the tornado which, in the summer of 2019, had raged around Pétange and Bascharage. The episode had generated more than 40 million euros of various destruction.


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