Natural disasters cause 250-bln-USD global loss in 2023: Munich Re

  • World
  • Wednesday, 10 Jan 2024

BERLIN, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Natural disasters caused worldwide losses of around 250 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, German reinsurer Munich Re said in its annual report on Tuesday.

Thunderstorms in North America and Europe were "more destructive than ever before," according to the report. In North America alone, assets worth around 66 billion U.S. dollars were destroyed by storms, while in Europe storm damage amounted to 10 billion U.S. dollars.

"The warming of the earth that has been accelerating for some years is intensifying the extreme weather in many regions, leading to increasing loss potentials," said Ernst Rauch, chief climate scientist at Munich Re.

In Germany, 2023 was the warmest year since measurements began in 1881, according to the National Meteorological Service (DWD). In contrast with previous years, which were often characterized by drought and heat waves, 2023 had mostly warm and humid conditions, with high levels of precipitation.

"Climate change is continuing unchecked," said Tobias Fuchs, head of the climate and environment business area at DWD, when presenting the figures. "We must intensify efforts to protect the climate and learn to adapt to the damage caused by extremes in weather."

The most devastating natural disaster in 2023 was the earthquakes in southeastern Turkey and Syria in February. Munich Re noted that with 58,000 people killed and overall losses of around 50 billion U.S. dollars, it was also the year's costliest natural disaster.

The number of deaths caused by natural disasters last year rose to 74,000. "A series of devastating earthquakes led to humanitarian disasters," Munich Re said. Around 63,000 people "lost their lives as a result of such geophysical hazards in 2023 - more than at any time since 2010."

"Comprehensive data and in-depth knowledge of changes in risks remain key factors ... to protect people against natural disasters," stressed Thomas Blunck, member of the board of management of Munich Re.

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