Continuity Emergency Management Health & Safety

Major environmental disasters: April 2017

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 2017.

View the full Impact Forecasting April 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report (PDF).

Flooding in multiple communities in southern Ontario and Quebec in April and into May is estimated to cost “well into the millions of dollars (USD)” in economic losses,

The report points to “an abnormally wet month of April” in parts of southern Ontario and Quebec led to widespread flooding in multiple communities through the early portion of May. “A series of storm systems originating in the United States led to excessive rainfall that combined with melting winter snow to allow several rivers to overflow their banks,” the report said. “In Quebec alone, the government noted that more than 1,300 homes were inundated by flooding across 124 cities and towns.”


In the United States, insurers face a multi-billion dollar bill from April weather damage, with U.S. severe weather remaining the biggest driver of global insurance losses in 2017,

The most severe outbreak, from late April into early May, featured a complex and broad storm weather system that spawned violent tornadoes, straight-line winds, large hail and excessive rainfall, killing 20 people in parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Total economic losses from this event alone event were expected to exceed US$1 billion.

Elsewhere, Cyclone Debbie swept across parts of the South Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand from late March into the first weeks of April, killing at least 14 people. Eastern Australia was the worst impacted, with damage from high winds and widespread coastal and inland flooding resulting in an anticipated insured loss of US$970 million.

Other global natural hazard events during April included:

  • An ongoing weather phenomenon deemed a “coastal El Niño” led to relentless rainfall in parts of Colombia, killing an estimated 400 people in the Colombian town of Mocoa, and 17 people in Manizales after separate massive debris flows destroyed dozens of neighbourhoods. Total economic losses were estimated at tens of million in U.S. dollars;
  • Major flooding in northeast Bangladesh led to extensive agricultural damage in excess of US$350 million. Similar levels of flooding in Iran killed 48 people and caused damage beyond US$353 million;
  • Frigid temperatures and frost across central Europe inflicted severe crop damage. Preliminary combined losses to vineyards and orchards alone were expected to reach into the hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars; and
  • A series of earthquakes struck the northern Philippines from April 4 to 9, causing damage to roughly 5,000 homes, schools and other buildings in multiple provinces. Economic losses were estimated in the millions in U.S. dollars.

View the full Impact Forecasting April 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report (PDF).

Source: Canadian Underwriter

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