The ten costliest weather disasters of 2021 topped $ 170 billion (over 150 billion euros) in damage in total, a figure that is increasing in 2020 and which reflects the growing impact of global warming, according to a British NGO. They have also killed at least 1,075 people and displaced more than 1.3 million people, according to Christian Aid’s annual report published on Monday (December 27th).
In 2020, the amount of economic damage from the ten most costly weather events was calculated at nearly $ 150 billion by the NGO, which points out that most assessments « Are based only on the insured losses, which suggests even higher real costs ».
This economic classification over-represents the disasters that have occurred in rich countries, with more developed and better insured infrastructures, but the NGO recalls that « Some of the most devastating extreme weather events of 2021 have hit poor countries, which have contributed little to the causes of climate change » and where most of the damage is not insured. In South Sudan, floods, the economic cost of which could not be assessed, affected some 800,000 people, for example Christian Aid recalls.
Storm Ida, the costliest disaster
The costliest disaster was Storm Ida (late August / early September), which notably resulted in flooding in New York City, with estimated economic costs of $ 65 billion. Then come the July floods in Germany, Belgium and neighboring countries, with $ 43 billion in losses, then the winter storm Uri in the United States, with a cold snap as far as Texas, which notably affected the power grid and caused 23 billion damage. A fourth disaster exceeds $ 10 billion in damage, flooding China’s Henan Province in July at a cost of $ 17.6 billion.
Follow the floods in British Columbia in Canada (November, 7.5 billion), the late April cold snap in France (5.6 billion), which devastated prestigious vineyards, Cyclone Yaas in India and Bangladesh (May, 3 billion), Typhoon In-Fa in China (July, 2 billion), floods in Australia (March 2.1 billion) and Cyclone Tauktae in India and Sri Lanka (May, 1.5 billion) .
In mid-December, the reinsurer Swiss Re published an overall estimate of the cost of natural disasters in 2021 around the world, estimated at some $ 250 billion, up 24% compared to 2020.
« The costs of climate change have been high this year », commented in a press release Kat Kramer, climate manager at Christian Aid and author of the report.
Weather disasters have always existed, but climate change caused by human activity is increasing their frequency and impact, as scientists predict.