Natural Disastersand Losses

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Munich Re has one of the world's largest global databases on natural catastrophes, the Munich Re NatCatSERVICE. Currently, it contains entries for more than 23,000 individual natural events which have caused human suffering and/ or property losses. Figure 21.1 shows the development in the number of great natural disasters (causing billion dollar losses and/or thousands of fatalities) since 1950, broken down into the different perils: floods, windstorms, geophysical disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions) and other weather-related events (heatwaves, forest fires, droughts), tte figure clearly shows a steep increase in the number of such events. While in the 1950s there were about two of them per year, the expected value has now risen to about seven. Most of the trend is driven by weather-related disasters, whereas there has been only a small trend upwards as far as geophysical events are concerned.

Fig. 21.1. Development of the number of Great Natural Disasters between 1950 and 2005 (Data from Munich Re NatCatSERVICE)

As a result of the growing number of weather-related disasters, but also as a result of population growth and increasing standards of living with higher values at risk, the losses from such disasters have increased dramatically. As Figure 21.2 shows on a global level, there has been an exponential increase in both overall economic and insured losses (both adjusted for inflation) since the 1950s, reaching a record level in 2004, which was topped again by new loss records in 2005.

Similar to the global trends, there has been an increase in the frequency of weather-related disasters in India, too. Figure 21.3 shows the development of weather-related disasters in India since 1980. tteir number has risen from about five per year at the beginning of the 1980s to more than 20.

ttis increase in the disaster frequency in India is reflected in the corresponding losses (Figure 21.4). Here too we see a general trend towards higher losses, although the losses caused by the Gujarat flood in 1993 still mark the record. Figure 21.4 also clearly shows that, in India, insured losses account for a very small proportion of the overall economic losses, in most years far below 10%. ttis means that the people affected by these disasters and eventually the state as a financial source of last resort have to cope with these losses. In a country where the majority of the population still relies on agriculture for their livelihood, the effects of extreme weather

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Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.

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