The UN office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) has said that reported economic losses from hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other climate-related disasters around the world have totalled almost $2.9 trillion (£2.2 trillion) over the past two decades.
UNISDR said assets were increasingly found in disaster-prone areas, contributing to a 251-per-cent increase in climate-related disaster losses from the previous 20-year period.
The US topped the list at over $944bn (£717bn), nearly twice the figure from China, in second. Puerto Rico – ravage by Hurricane Maria last year – Japan and India rounded out the top five.
The UN agency cautioned on Wednesday that the 1998-2017 figures relied on official reports, so more economically powerful countries were generally over-represented. Insurance is less widespread in developing countries.
UNISDR’s tally is based on confirmed documentation, meaning the headline figure was likely only a fraction of actual losses.
Additional reporting by AP