Last year was a record-breaking year for natural disasters—and not in a good way. New data collected about natural disasters in 2011 says $366 billion was caused in economic damage.
The Japan earthquake and tsunami alone caused $210 billion in damage, and 19,846 people were killed in those disasters. The data also showed that 45 percent of the disasters in 2011 happened in Asia. The continent also endured 75 percent of the overall economic damages and more than 85 percent of the overall number of people killed.
An interesting point of note from the study is that wealthy and middle-income countries were affected the most.
According to the AlertNet article:
The number of disasters was lower than the 2001-2010 annual average of 384, and death tolls from storms and extreme temperatures were far fewer in 2011 than the previous decade’s average.
The Philippines suffered the highest number of reported natural disasters in 2011 with 33, followed by China with 21, and the United States with 19.
Overall, 206 million people were affected by disaster events last year, with some 106 million people hit by floods and 34 million by storms. Drought impacted on 60 million people, mainly in China and the Horn of Africa, where failed rains have caused a widespread hunger crisis.