A summary of April’s major natural disasters
- Published: Wednesday, 13 May 2015 08:12
Impact Forecasting 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 April 2015.
The report highlights the magnitude 7.8 earthquake which struck Nepal during the month, killing as many as 10,000 people and causing catastrophic damage throughout Nepal, India, China, and Bangladesh. Preliminary economic losses were expected to reach and possibly exceed USD5.0 billion – which would equal to at least 25 percent of Nepal's gross domestic product (GDP) – with very low insurance penetration in the region. Government figures revealed that more than 700,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake, as well as dozens of historical sites.
United States severe thunderstorm activity increased significantly in April, with five separate events impacting central and eastern areas of the country. Dozens of tornadoes touched down, with parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast sustaining the worst damage. Total combined insured losses were expected to reach USD2.0 billion, including more than USD750 million from one event alone. Despite an active month for US tornadoes (185), the annual total remained at a historically low level.
Also occurring in April:
- Severe weather in Australia caused significant damage in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. The Insurance Council of Australia estimated insured losses would near USD350 million.
- In China, four severe weather episodes caused widespread damage to properties and crops leading to aggregate economic losses of almost USD1.0 billion.
- A rare F2 tornado prompted considerable damage in the Brazilian town of Xanxere, killing two people.
- Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted three times and led to the evacuation of at least 6,500 residents. The eruptions were expected to cost the local economy up to USD600 million.
- Torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding and landslides throughout parts of Brazil, Afghanistan, Haiti, Kazakhstan, and Kenya. In total, more than 100 people were killed.
- Major wildfires engulfed parts of Russia's southern Siberia, killing at least 33 people and destroying nearly 1,500 homes. Total economic damages were listed at USD140 million.
- A stretch of wintry weather caused heavy crop damage in eastern China. Unseasonably cold temperatures left vast areas of crops destroyed, with total damages recorded at USD174 million.