For many of July’s global natural disasters, it was all about drought and wildfires, according to the latest update from Aon’s Impact Forecasting.
What the report found: Many countries dealt with worsening droughts and wildfires, trends that had significant impact financially on everything from agriculture to forestry, water management and fisheries industries. Impact Forecasting didn’t put a precise number yet on economic losses because some events are still ongoing, but it noted that preliminary aggregated loss estimates surpass $4 billion in Northern Europe alone.
“Nearly every major continent recorded some type of peril impact that will lead to a major cost to agricultural interests,” Michal Lorinc, an analyst with Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight team, said in prepared remarks. “In Northern Europe alone, the cost to local farming interests is expected to result in a multibillion-dollar loss in harvest output. All eyes are on the looming possibility of an El Nino return by the end of the year, which could exacerbate these types of impacts.”
Among the report’s findings:
- Northern Europe dealt with one of the most significant droughts on record, leaving more than $4 billion in estimated European drought economic losses. Just in Germany, economic losses are at least $2.9 billion.
- Australia and Central America also dealt with severe drought that harmed agriculture, plus an extensive heatwave killed more than 150 people in Japan and South Korea.
- In California, the Carr Fire became one of the top 10 most destructive wildfires on record after being ignited near Redding, killing six people, destroying roughly 1,600 structures and damaging hundreds more. So far, the total economic cost from the Carr Fire should surpass $1 billion, with insurance losses expected to approach or top that total.
- Another Northern California wildfire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, destroyed 143 structures and became the largest fire in the modern record (since 1932) in California.
- The deadliest wildfire event on record in Europe since 1900 had a devastating impact in the Mati, Eastern Attica region of Greece, killing at least 92 people. The fire, and others in Attica, destroyed at least 905 structures and damaged a further 740.
- Elsewhere in Europe, Sweden battled the most significant wildfire outbreak in its modern history, with damage surpassing $100 million.
Beyond fires and droughts, flooding and historic rainfall also caused plenty of trouble. Among the highlights:
- Historic rainfall in Japan caused significant flash flooding and mudslides, leaving at least 230 people dead or missing. Nearly 50,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. The General Insurance Association of Japan reported 48,000 insurance claims being paid, at a preliminary cost of $711 million.
- Arizona and the U.S. Northeast, Nigeria, Russia’s Far East, India and multiple countries in Southeastern Asia, including Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Philippines, all dealt with “notable flooding,” Impact Forecasting said.
- Seasonal flooding in China led to estimated aggregated economic losses hovering close to $1 billion.
- Multiple typhoons in the Western Pacific Ocean Basin left notable damage in parts of China, Vietnam and Japan. The costliest was Typhoon Maria, which caused nearly $500 million in economic damage in China.
- Several outbreaks of severe weather led to widespread damage across parts of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and China during July.
- Major earthquakes caused severe damage and injuries in Iran (July 22) and Indonesia (July 28).
Source: Aon/Impact Forecasting