Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019)

4 September 2021.


Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019) was released on


  • According to the atlas, developed nations incurred the bulk of $3.6tn in economic losses because of severe weather events in past five decades.
  • High death tolls in poorer countries have been partly reduced by better evacuation.
  • According to scientists of UN’s world meteorological organisation, in past 50 years, number of weather-related disasters had increased fivefold across the globe.
  • In this period, death toll of 115 people and more than $200m was lost every day. The death toll was the result of climate change, more extreme weather and improved reporting.
  • In this period, total losses amounted to $3.6tn and 2m deaths.
  • For instance, estimated cost of Hurricane Ida, fifth-largest hurricane to make landfall in US, could be about $80bn.
  • Three out of 10 world’s costliest disasters occurred in 2017 alone namely- hurricanes Harvey (cost-$96.9bn), Maria (cost-$69.4bn) and Irma (cost-$58.2bn).

Wider economic cost

  • As per catastrophe and risk modelling group AIR, wider economic cost comprises of an estimated hit to insurers of between $17bn and $25bn.
  • This will cover the damage from wind & storm surge and it will pay out to repair cars, residential property, commercial as well as industrial property.
  • However, it does not include insurance claims that will come from the heavy rains and flooding caused by Ida.

What has led to increase in frequency of extreme weather events?

  • Frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including wildfires, across southern Europe, Siberia & the US and flooding in northern Europe, has increased due to global warming.

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