Major environmental disasters: June 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 June 2017.

A thunderstorm over Saskatoon on June 2 that spawned ping pong ball-sized hail is estimated to cost more than US$30 million, Aon Benfield said in its Global Catastrophe Recap report for the month of June.

South of the border, the worldwide economic and insured losses during June were once again largely driven by several major severe weather outbreaks in the United States. Large hail, tornado touchdowns, straight-line winds and isolated flash flooding all contributed to an aggregated economic loss that was expected to exceed US$3 billion. Of that total, public and private insurance entities were expected to minimally cover at least US$2 billion.

On June 7, a powerful low pressure system left 11 people dead in South Africa as it lashed the country’s southwestern coast, the report said. Widespread damage and disruption was reported throughout the Western Cape region as the storm produced powerful wind gusts and lightning strikes that triggered numerous fires. The deadliest and costliest fire burned near Knysna as thousands of homes, structures and vehicles were damaged or destroyed. Published reports indicated that insurance payouts from the wildfires and storms could cost the local industry as much as US%305 million. Overall economic losses were estimated at more than US$500 million, the report said.

Greek firefighters stand on the ruins of a collapsed house in the village of Vrissas, on the island of Lesbos in the eastern Aegean.

In China, major flooding impacted at least nine provinces in the southern part of the country during June, killing at least 31 people and affecting more than 130,000 homes. The catastrophe was caused by torrential downpours associated with annual Mei-yu rains, Aon explained. China’s official Ministry of Civil Affairs listed aggregated economic losses at more than US$2.4 billion, which resulted in the flooding becoming the costliest individual global natural catastrophe in the month of June.

Other natural peril events during June included:

  • Thunderstorm activity in Europe peaked on June 22, when a particularly violent outbreak caused significant losses to German insurers, estimated at US$455 million;
  • Torrential monsoonal rainfall caused floods and landslides in Bangladesh and neighbouring northeast India, causing at least 169 fatalities;
  • Other flood-related events in Asia (including China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India) resulted in a combined death toll of at least 312 people;
  • Additional significant floods occurred in Central America, Chile and Western Africa;
  • The combination of extreme heat and dry thunderstorms led to one of the deadliest wildfires in Portuguese history, killing 64 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. Local government indicated that economic losses may reach US$565 million; and
  • An offshore magnitude-6.3 earthquake damaged more than 1,100 homes on the Greek island of Lesbos. Economic losses were expected to be tens of millions (in U.S. dollars).

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

Source: Canadian Underwriter

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