240,500 killed in disasters in 2008

18th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss Re reports that 2008 was one of the worst years in recent history for disasters.

ZURICH - Cyclone Nargis and the Sichuan earthquake made 2008 one of the worst for disasters since 1970, both in terms of lives lost and economic damage, according to a report released Tuesday by insurance company Swiss Re.

Some 240,500 people lost their lives in natural and man-made disaster in 2008, the study found. Most died in Asia, where cyclone Nargis killed 138,000 people when it hit Myanmar in May. An earthquake in China's Sichuan province the same month claimed 70,000 lives, according to the report.

The death toll was one of the highest in decades. More people died only in 1970 and 1976, with a tropical storm in the Bay of Bengal and a quake in China being the main killers in those two years respectively.

Swiss Re put the economic damage caused by disasters last year at USD 269 billion (CHF 318 billion), with the earthquake in Sichuan accounting for almost half of this.

Insured losses amounted to USD 52.5 billion, more than three-quarters of which occurred in the United States, the company said.

AP / Expatica

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