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The Independent Online
BAD WEATHER caused $90bn (pounds 6.25bn)of damage last year, according to US researchers, who pinned the blame on el Nino, the warming of the Pacific Ocean, and its cousin, la Nina, the sudden cooling pattern which follows.

Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurer, said natural disasters caused 50,000 deaths and damage costing more than $90bn in 1998, compared with 13,000 deaths and damage of $30bn in 1997.