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Roundup of May’s major environment disasters

Impact Forecasting has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during May 2017.

The report highlights that several major outbreaks of severe weather swept across central and eastern sections of the United States during the month, causing extensive damage through large hail, straight-line winds, tornadoes and isolated flash flooding.

The most severe event occurred in the greater Denver, Colorado metro region, where damage from up to softball-sized hail led to insurance payouts of more than USD1.4 billion in the state alone. Significant damage from severe storms was also cited in parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic.

Total aggregated economic losses from US severe weather in May was set to exceed USD4.0 billion, while public and private insurers faced a combined payout approaching USD3.0 billion. These totals are subject to change as further assessments are being conducted.

Meanwhile, the combination of the arrival of the southwest monsoon and a developing tropical cyclone led to significant rainfall across Sri Lanka, killing at least 213 people, with another 77 people listed as missing and presumed dead. Nearly 150 others were injured. Flooding and landslides affected 15 of the country's 25 districts and left more than 22,200 homes damaged or destroyed. Thousands of other structures (including hospitals, schools and religious facilities) were inundated. Total economic losses were preliminarily estimated at USD197 million.

Other natural hazard events to have occurred elsewhere during May include:

  • Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh, prompting widespread flood and wind damage. Affects were later felt in Myanmar. At least nine people were killed and a combined 50,000 homes and other structures were damaged. Overall aggregated losses were expected to exceed USD100 million.
  • Powerful thunderstorms led to widespread hail and wind damage in parts of Canada, Russia, China, and Bangladesh. Total combined economic losses were well beyond USD100 million.
  • In Canada, separate bouts of excessive rainfall led to major flooding events in Ontario, Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes and British Columbia, killing at least four people and damaging more than 5,200 homes.
  • Major flood events affected Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, and Indonesia.
  • Multiple regions of the globe dealt with worsening drought conditions. In China, the northern provincial areas of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Liaoning cited agricultural losses of at least USD122 million. The ongoing drought in South Africa saw costs likely to exceed USD100 million.
  • Cyclone Donna became the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere during the month of May. The storm tracked through the South Pacific Islands and caused extensive damage in parts of the Vanuatu island chain, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
  • Separate moderate earthquake events struck Iran (magnitude 5.8) and China (magnitude 5.4), killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more. Thousands of homes collapsed.

To view the full Impact Forecasting May 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report, click here



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