With 170 billion dollars in damage, the ten meteorological disasters of 2021 were more costly than those of 2020, according to a report by a British NGO, published on Monday, which estimates that this figure reflects the consequences of global warming.
These 10 disasters have also claimed at least 1,075 lives and displaced more than 1.3 million people, also adds Christian Aid’s annual report.
« Even higher real costs »
Last year, the amount of economic damage from the 10 most costly weather events was calculated at nearly $ 150 billion by the NGO, which points out that most assessments « are based solely on insured damage, 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 struck poor countries, which have contributed little to the causes of climate change ”and where most of the damage is uninsured. 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 at the top of the rankings
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) .
The frequency of climatic events on the rise
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,” Kat Kramer, climate manager at Christian Aid and author of the report, commented in a statement. Weather disasters have always existed, but climate change caused by human activity is increasing their frequency and impact, as scientists predict.