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Roundup of August’s natural disasters around the world

Droughts in various countries and multiple landfalling storms in Asia-Pacific were the theme of the month.

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during August 2015.

The report highlights that in the United States, severe drought conditions persisted in western regions with total economic losses expected to reach at least USD 3.0 billion: mostly attributable to agricultural damage in California. Several Caribbean and Central American nations issued alerts as droughts worsened.

Drought conditions also affected Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America during August, with combined economic losses of more than USD 2.6 billion occurring in Romania, Czech Republic, and Poland.
As El Niño continues to intensify in the coming months, it is expected that global drought losses will surpass the current forecast of USD 8.0 billion in economic damage.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: "As we continue to see the prospect of El Niño becoming one of the strongest in decades, more and more impacts will be apparent around the world. This is already true in the form of global drought losses, as several countries have endured a severe lack of rainfall and agricultural impacts. On the flip side, tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean maintained its torrid pace in August due to above-average sea surface temperatures and favorable / favourable atmospheric conditions. Multiple landfalling storms in Asia-Pacific left considerable damage, and more activity is expected as we enter the peak of the cyclone season."

Elsewhere during August, Super Typhoon Soudelor tracked through Saipan, Taiwan, and China causing economic losses in excess of USD 3.2 billion. Soudelor was followed by Typhoon Goni which wrought havoc in Philippines, the Korean peninsula, and Japan, killing at least 70 people, damaging tens of thousands of homes and causing economic losses well into the hundreds of millions (USD).

Further natural hazard events that occurred during August:

  • Tropical Storm Erika impacted Dominica, Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, killing 36 people and causing economic losses of around USD 100 million.
  • Heavy monsoon rains killed hundreds of people throughout Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Record US flooding in the greater Tampa, Florida metro region caused widespread property and automobile damage.
  • A severe weather outbreak prompted economic losses of USD 475 million and insured losses of USD 325 million in the US, mainly due to hail and damaging straight-line winds.
  • China experienced two severe weather outbreaks that prompted economic losses of more than USD 340 million.
  • Severe weather killed 20 people in Sudan.
  • The western third of the US, Canada's British Columbia province, and southern and central portions of Europe all suffered damaging wildfire outbreaks during August. The costs of fighting the fires soared to well beyond USD 1.0 billion globally.
  • Heatwave conditions throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa killed at least 125 people.

To view the full Impact Forecasting August 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please click here.



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