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Munich Re on Natural Catastrophes

Item #d98dec41

In 1998, natural catastrophes claimed 50,000 lives and cost US$90 billion throughout the world, according to a press release issued by Munich Re, a leading international reinsurer. This dollar cost is the second highest total ever. The international insurance industry paid US$15 billion of the total, the fourth highest amount ever. Hurricane Mitch killed an estimated 11,000 people and displaced or injured 3,000,000 more in Honduras and Nicaragua. Elsewhere, Hurricane Georges in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, Typhoon Vicki in Japan, the U.S. heat wave, forest fires in peninsular Asia and Russia, and the ice storm in southeastern Canada caused grave suffering and losses. According to Munich Re, these phenomena may in part be explained by the natural climate fluctuations of El Niño and La Niña. A key role also may have been played by the year’s record temperatures.

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