Billion Dollar Disasters

Billion-dollar disasters on the increase in United States

As the atmosphere continues to warm, we are seeing more and more billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the United States. Thru September, there had already been 11 such events in the Lower 48 according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This number will likely rise once the final calculations are completed for Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires. If these two disasters wind up being added, we will have a total of 13 billion-dollar disasters for the year, making it one of the worst years in U.S. history, behind only 2017, 2011 and 2016. For perspective, the average year sees about six billion-dollar disasters.

World Bank Report on Annual Cost of Natural Disasters

From the World Bank, Natural Disasters Cost $520B a Year.  Some details:

Global natural disasters cost $520 billion of consumption loss annually, 60 percent larger than asset losses that are commonly reported, the World Bank said in a report.

The estimate is based on the impact of disasters such as floods, windstorms, earthquakes, and tsunamis on people’s well-being, measured by the decline in their consumption, …..

“The design of disaster risk management should, then, not rely only on asset losses,” the World Bank said. “Targeting poorer people with disaster risk reduction interventions — such as dikes and drainage systems — would generate lower gains in avoided asset losses but larger gains in well-being.”

Cost of Disasters in 2016 – from Swiss Re

Disasters claimed 10,000 lives, cost $158 billion in 2016: Swiss Re

More than 10,000 people died as a result of natural and man-made disasters during 2016, with financial losses totalling at least $158 billion, Swiss Re said on Thursday.

At an estimated $49 billion, insured losses rose by nearly a third from $37 billion in 2015, but covered less than a third of the costs incurred from catastrophes over the year.

“The gap between total losses and insured losses in 2016 shows that many events took place in areas where insurance coverage was low,” Swiss Re said in a statement.

Hurricane Matthew was 2016’s deadliest natural catastrophe, Swiss Re said, claiming up to 733 lives, primarily in Haiti.

Are Some Communities Surviving on Disaster Relief Funds?

This is a new and important topic for those of us interested in the recovery phase. Your comments are invited.

From a FL newspaper, see this article: FEMA money keeps many Florida counties afloat.

This article references a Bloomberg News article from a month ago, which was titled:
The Areas America Could Abandon First.  Some excerpts:

You could drive a shrimp boat 1,300 miles along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to Fort Myers and not pass a single county or parish that voted against Donald Trump. The cities and towns along that shoreline had better hope he remembers their support: Without increasing levels of federal spending, climate change could push parts of them out of existence.

So far this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $1.1 billion on what are called Individual Assistance payments, which help households recover from natural disasters. There are no limits on the number of times a household can apply, so the program isn’t just a safety net; for some people, it’s effectively a subsidy to live in areas that are especially vulnerable to hurricanes, floods and storm surges.

Weather Trends Will be Costly for Emergency Managers

Damaging, costly extreme-weather winters are becoming more common in U.S.

The simultaneous occurrence of warm winters in the West and cold winters in the East has significantly increased in recent decades. The damaging and costly phenomenon is very likely attributable to human-caused climate change, according to a new study. In the past three years alone the combination of heat-related drought in the West and Arctic conditions in the East have pinched the national economy, costing several billion dollars in insured losses, government aid and lost productivity. When such weather extremes occur at the same time, they threaten to stretch emergency responders’ disaster assistance abilities, strain resources such as interregional transportation, and burden taxpayer-funded disaster relief.

Extreme Weather Events Have Had Huge Cost

Extreme Weather Disasters Have Cost U.S. Taxpayers Tens of Billions Since 2015.

NOTE: Be sure to download the full report if you want to see the useful data, of events by type and by state, provided.

 A new analysis done by the Center for American Progress shows that extreme weather events—which will become more frequent and severe with climate change—have cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. Between 2005 and 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provided more than $67 billion to individuals and local governments in response to declared emergencies and major disasters. Communities in Louisiana, New York, Mississippi, New Jersey and Texas received the most FEMA aid during this time period.

“Climate change is causing more and more extreme weather events, putting at risk not only the lives and livelihoods of Americans but also significant taxpayer funds,” said Erin Auel, CAP Research Assistant and co-author of the paper. “As global temperatures continue to climb, these events are going to become more frequent, more powerful, more deadly, and more costly. Taking steps to address climate change and better prepare for the changes that are currently irreversible will save the United States significant amounts of money in the long term and reduce the devastation we have seen from natural disasters in recent years.”