Losses from Natural Disasters Reach New Peak in 2011

Petra Löw | Mar 30, 2012


During 2011, a total of 820 natural catastrophes were documented, a decrease of 15 percent from the 970 events registered in 2010.1  But the 2011 figure is in line with the average of 790 events during 2001–10 and is considerably above the average of 630 events during 1981–20102 (See Figure 1).

Natural Disasters Figure 1


The breakdown of loss-relevant events among the main hazards—geophysical, meteorological, hydrological, and climatological events—is more or less in line with the average over the past 30 years.3 In 2011, some 91 percent were weather-related—37 percent each were storms and floods and 17 percent were climatological events like heat waves, cold waves, wildfires, and droughts—while 9 percent were geophysical events, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.4

The share of events by continent is also in line with the long-term average. Most natural catastrophes occurred in the Americas (290) and Asia (240), while in Europe there were 150, in Africa 80, and in Australia 60 events.5



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