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Roundup of December’s natural disasters around the world

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 December 2015. 

The December report reveals that a complex weather pattern impacted multiple regions of the United States, killing at least 64 people. Parts of the Midwest, Plains, Southeast, Rockies and Northeast were all impacted by the inclement weather, though the states of Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana were among the hardest-hit.
Preliminary estimates suggest that total economic losses from the weather events during the month will exceed USD4.0 billion, with insured losses likely to approach or exceed USD2.0 billion. The Insurance Council of Texas reported losses of USD1.2 billion in the Dallas metropolitan area alone.

The severe weather pattern resulted in at least 58 tornado touch-downs, historic flooding in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest, and record snowfall and ice that led to extensive travel disruption, as well as hail and damaging winds.

Meanwhile, rainfall from a series of North Atlantic storm systems led to extensive flooding across the United Kingdom and Ireland throughout the month. The arrival of windstorms Ted and Eckard – also known locally as Desmond and Frank – brought even more flood and wind damage. The hardest-hit areas included a large swath of southern Scotland, northern England, and Wales, where thousands of homes and businesses endured varying levels of flood inundation.

Various published reports, including from the Association of British Insurers, indicated that preliminary insured losses in the UK were expected to exceed GBP1.5 billion (USD2.2 billion), while overall economic losses were forecast to be around GBP2.8 billion (USD4.0 billion).

Further natural hazard events to have occurred during December include:

  • Areas of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil endured their worst flooding in at least 50 years, which killed at least 16 people and resulted in preliminary economic loss estimates in excess of USD200 million.
  • Typhoon Melor made multiple landfalls in the Philippines, killing at least 42 people and injuring 24 others. The Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reported economic damages to agriculture and infrastructure alone at PHP6.5 billion (USD140 million).
  • A wildfire in the Australian state of Victoria destroyed at least 116 homes. The Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe, with preliminary insured losses listed at AUD53 million (USD38 million), and total economic losses expected to exceed USD100 million.
  • The Ethiopian National Risk Management Coordination Commission announced that it sought USD1.4 billion to deal with its worst drought in 30 years. At least 10 million people were affected.

To view the full Impact Forecasting December 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, click here (PDF).



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