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Disaster Losses Hit Record Levels in 2011

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Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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« on: December 16, 2011, 09:44:33 am »

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/disaster-losses-hit-record-levels-in-2011-.html?l=1

12/16/11

Disaster Losses Hit Record Levels in 2011

The disasters that plagued the globe this year will send 2011 into the record books as the most costly year for catastrophes on record.

Japan's powerful tsunami, earthquakes in New Zealand, floods in Thailand and a series of severe tornadoes in the U.S. all contributed to $350 billion in disaster losses, according to a new estimate from reinsurance company Swiss Re AG.

The long list of calamities crippled factories and cut supply chains, rippling through the world's economies. In Christchurch, New Zealand, entire city blocks remain uninhabitable; in Alabama and Missouri, neighborhoods have been wiped off the map.

Insurance and reinsurance companies are likely to shoulder about $108 billion of the losses, though the tally could creep higher, Swiss Re said.

The insurance industry's burden would have been greater except for the relatively low uptake for earthquake and tsunami coverage in Japan, where the government, businesses and individual homeowners are footing the bulk of the bill. To a lesser degree, the same was true in August's Hurricane Irene, where wind damage in the U.S. was covered—but flooding, in many places, was not.

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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2011, 03:39:17 pm »

Disaster-struck Japan set for record high spending

12/24/11
..

TOKYO (AP) — Disaster-struck Japan is headed to record high budget spending of 96 trillion yen ($1.2 trillion) as the nation tackles the costs of recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami.

The Cabinet approved the draft budget for the fiscal year staring April 2012 on Saturday, covering massive costs for reconstruction in northeastern Japan as well as decontamination efforts for radiation leaked from a damaged nuclear power plant.

The government will rely on new debt for 49 percent of its annual revenue, the highest level ever, according to Kyodo News service.
..

http://news.yahoo.com/disaster-struck-japan-set-record-high-spending-055353612.html
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 09:01:01 am »

2011: The year in extreme weather

12 disasters in 2011 each caused more than $1 billion in damage
Rare events include EF5 tornadoes hitting Missouri and Alabama and Hurricane Irene threatening New York City


Extreme weather came in fast and furious in 2011, with unwavering intensity for all twelve months of the year.

From snowstorms to drought, hurricanes to wildfires, epic floods to heat waves -- 2011 shattered records with “a total of twelve weather and climate disasters,” according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with "each causing $1 billion or more in damages -- and most regrettably, loss of human lives and property.”

The New Year started off with a bang as an unusually intense -- and poorly timed -- January 2011 snowstorm in the Washington DC area left some motorists stranded in their cars for more than 10 hours during an evening commute.

The following month, an even larger, monster winter storm brought Chicago to an utter standstill. The Groundhog Day Blizzard brought two feet of snow to the area, while wind gusts as high as 60 mph piled snow drifts in some spots 10 feet high! Cars were left abandoned on major thoroughfares like Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. This wallop of a storm didn’t just impact Illinois, but many central, eastern, and northeastern states. According to the National Climatic Data Center, it brought insured losses greater than $1 billion and total losses greater than $1.8 billion and unfortunately 36 deaths.

Record-shattering tornadoes

The spring thaw that followed did not evoke calmer conditions to the U.S. In both April and May, devastating record-shattering tornado outbreaks slammed the South, Midwest and other regions. In late April, an outbreak of 343 tornadoes in central and southern states caused 321 deaths. Of those fatalities, 240 occurred in Alabama alone. The deadliest tornado of the outbreak, an EF-5, hit northern Alabama on April 27, killing 78 people.

On May 22, an EF-5 (winds over 200 mph+) tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. It was one mile wide and traveled for 22 miles on the ground. According to NOAA, the Joplin tornado was the deadliest single tornado to strike the U.S. since modern tornado record-keeping began in 1950. 158 people lost their lives in this weather event.

Scorching summer

Hot and dry would be two good words to describe the summer of 2011: It was a season plagued by drought and extreme heat. Temperatures not only soared, but stayed unbearably scorching for weeks! Dallas, Texas saw 71 total days of 100+ plus temperatures. That’s the highest total number of 100 degree + days the city has ever seen. The Northeast wasn't spared from triple digit temps either. Newark, New Jersey set a new all-time record high of 108 on July 22, shattering the old record of 105 degrees, set on August 9, 2001.

The combination of hot temperatures and lack of rainfall caused Texas to see “its most severe one-year drought on record,” according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. “Twelve month rainfall was the driest on record across much of Western, Central and Southern Texas,” he concluded. Many areas saw less than 25% of their annual precipitation.

Raging wildfires and rainfalls

The heat and drought led to a record wildfire season in many states. This occurred in the summer of 2011 and into the fall. Fires that ignited in states like Arizona and Texas were not only enormous in size, but also incredibly destructive. For example, the Bastrop Fire in Texas destroyed more than 1,500 homes and in Arizona. The Wallow Fire consumed more than 500,000 acres, making it the largest on record in the state.

While some areas didn’t receive enough water, others were inundated. In the Ohio Valley, rainfall totals increased by around 300%. This, combined with melting snowpack, caused catastrophic flooding along the Mississippi River. Further north, according to the National Climatic Data Center, “an estimated 11,000 people were forced to evacuate Minot, North Dakota due to the record high water level of the Souris River, where 4,000 homes were flooded.”

Mandatory evacuation for New Yorkers

Fast forward to the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. An “above average” season was predicted by forecasters at Colorado State University, and it lived up to that prediction. There were 19 tropical storms in the Atlantic this year, making 2011 the 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851. One hurricane that developed in August grabbed the headlines with ferocity. That’s because this hurricane’s forecast track was headed directly towards a major metropolitan city that hadn’t seen a hurricane make landfall since 1985: New York City. For several days in late August, Hurricane Irene had the entire east coast on alert.

On August 26, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made this memorable announcement from City Hall:

“The sun is shining, but don't be misled. There is a very dangerous storm headed in our direction, and it could go slightly to the east or slightly to the west. It could speed up, it could close down, it could grow or diminish in intensity, but there is no question that we are going to get hit with some wind and high water that is very dangerous ... We are today issuing a mandatory -- I repeat the word mandatory -- evacuation order for all New Yorkers who live in the low-lying Zone A coastal areas in all five boroughs that are at greatest risk of damage relating to Irene.”

It was the first mandatory evacuation the city had ever seen. It was also the first time the New York City transit system was ever shut down in advance of a storm.

Hurricane Irene initially struck the U.S. as a Category 1 hurricane in eastern North Carolina on Saturday, August 26, and then moved northward along the Mid-Atlantic Coast. According to NOAA, “wind damage in coastal North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland was moderate, with considerable damage resulting from falling trees and power lines.” Luckily, the worst case scenario did not occur when Irene made its final landfall as a tropical storm in the New York City area. However, Irene did dump excessive rainfall in the Northeast that caused widespread flooding.

More than 7 million homes and businesses lost power during the storm, and Irene caused at least 45 deaths and more than $7.3 billion in damages.

And winter begins...

Finally, the last month of the 2011 brought a life-threatening early start to winter for residents of the Plains states. In the week before Christmas, a paralyzing blizzard struck the region. White-out conditions caused road closures of highways in Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado on December 19th and 20th. That’s two days before the official start of winter on December 22.

http://www.hlntv.com/article/2011/12/26/2011-unusual-year-extreme-weather?hpt=hp_t2
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 06:43:05 pm »

Insurers’ 2011 Catastrophe Losses Reached Record on Japan

1/4/12

Japan’s earthquake and U.S. storms helped make 2011 the costliest year on record for insurance companies in terms of natural-disaster losses, according to Munich Re (ARN).

Several “devastating” earthquakes and a large number of weather-related catastrophes cost insurers $105 billion, more than double the natural-disaster figure for 2010 and exceeding the 2005 record of $101 billion, the world’s biggest reinsurer said in an e-mailed statement today. Competitor Swiss Re earlier estimated that the industry’s claims from natural catastrophes reached $103 billion.

Global economic losses jumped to $380 billion last year, surpassing the previous record of $220 billion in 2005, with the quakes in New Zealand in February and Japan in March accounting for almost two-thirds of the losses, Munich Re said.

“We had to contend with events with return periods of once every 1,000 years or even higher at the locations concerned,” Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s board member responsible for global reinsurance, said in the statement. “We are prepared for such extreme situations.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-04/insurers-2011-catastrophe-losses-reached-record-on-japan-munich-re-says.html
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 04:25:42 pm »

Earthchanges: Natural disasters cost world record $366 billion in 2011

1/19/12

January 19, 2012 – WORLD – Natural disasters such as the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan caused a record $366 billion (285 million euros) damage in 2011, the UN disaster risk reduction agency UNISDR said on Wednesday. A total of 29,782 people were killed in 302 disasters last year, the body said. Storms and floods accounted for up to 70 percent of catastrophes but earthquakes were the biggest killer. Figures released by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction showed quakes claimed 20,943 lives, most of them in Japan. The earthquake and tsunami that sparked the Fukushima nuclear plant catastrophe in March was also the costliest disaster, causing damage worth $210 billion. This was followed by the floods that hit Thailand from August to December which cost the country $40 billion. The number of disasters was down on 2010, when 385 occurred, according to CRED figures. However 2011 practically saw a tripling in costs from $123.9 billion recorded in the previous 12 months. CRED director Debarati Guha-Sapir said: “It was notable last year that many of the disasters were in high and middle-income countries which have the resources for better disaster prevention.” In addition to the Japan earthquake, the centre cited the floods in Brazil in January, the quake that hit New Zealand in February, and Hurricane Irene in the United States in August and September. The Brazil floods were the deadliest in the country’s history, taking 900 lives. Other major disasters included the October earthquake in Turkey and the tropical storm Sendong that hit the Philippines last month, claiming 1,430 lives. This was the second highest death toll for disasters in 2011 after the 19,846 who died in Japan. “The Japan earthquake and the accompanying tsunami is a reminder to us all that we cannot afford to ignore the lessons of history no matter how forgotton,” said UNISDR chief Margareta Wahlstrom. “The many major cities located in seismic zones need to take seriously the probability of return events even if many years have passed since the last seismic event of major magnitude. Unless we prepare for the worst, then many earthquake-prone urban areas around the world are destined to see even greater loss of life in the future as more and more people move to cities.” In total 206 million people were affected by disasters last year. This includes 106 million hit by floods and 60 million by drought, mainly in the Horn of Africa. Guha-Sapir said droughts and famines were rarely “spectacular” events but caused a massive number of deaths which often went uncounted. –Terra Earth

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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 07:24:50 pm »

Japan Seen Anteing Up on Stimulus as Yen Impact Fades: Economy
25 April 2012, by Toru Fujioka and Masahiro Hidaka (Bloomberg)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-24/bank-of-japan-seen-anteing-up-on-stimulus-as-yen-impact-fades.html

Excerpt:

Japan’s central bank is set to ante up on stimulus measures as a rebound in the yen shows that the impact of a 10 trillion yen ($123 billion) expansion in asset purchases in February is fading.

All 14 economists in a Bloomberg News survey predict additional easing when the Bank of Japan releases new inflation forecasts on April 27. Most expect an increase ranging from 5 trillion yen to 10 trillion yen.

One dynamic that may undermine stimulus efforts is Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s own comments, repeated in the U.S. last week, that monetary policy has only a limited role in ending deflation and supporting growth.

Former Bank of Japan board member Atsushi Mizuno says investors are confused on where the central bank stands, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. says failing to ease could see the yen strengthen further.

“The BOJ will have to clearly show powerful easing amid high market expecations and elevated political pressure,” said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo and a former official at the central bank.

“Otherwise, investors will be more confused and the view will become more widespread that there is no change in the BOJ’s passive stance.”
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