The ten most expensive climate-related disasters in 2022

From floods in Pakistan to devastating hurricanes and wildfires

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Tuesday 27 December 2022 00:29 GMT
<p>Hurricane Ian hit Cuba and Florida at a financial cost of $100bn </p>

Hurricane Ian hit Cuba and Florida at a financial cost of $100bn

In a year of apocalyptic climate disasters, a report has found that the 10 most expensive storms, floods and droughts each cost at least £2.5bn.

Christian Aid has highlighted the worst climate-related disasters of the year, as the world braces for more devastating floods, droughts and wildfires.

Hurricane Ian had the biggest financial impact, of £82.4bn, when it hit the US and Cuba in September.

The hurricane led to 130 deaths and displaced more than 40,000 people, a report from the aid agency said.

The biggest impact in terms of human costs were the Pakistan floods in June to September, which scientists found were significantly more likely because of the climate crisis, causing 1,739 deaths and displacing 7 million people.

The floods cost £4.6bn – although that is only insured losses, and the true cost of the devastating floods is estimated to be more than £24.7bn, Christian Aid said.

Alongside the 10 most costly events, the report from the charity highlights other noteworthy climate-related incidents which also caused deaths, displacement, devastation and environmental damage.

They include floods in Malaysia, Brazil and west Africa, long-running drought in the Horn of Africa, heatwaves in India and Pakistan, the Arctic and Antarctica, wildfires in Chile, storms in southeast Africa and Philippines and a tropical cyclone in Bangladesh.

A report shows the top 10 most expensive climate disasters cost around £2.5bn each

The 10 events which each cost at least £2.5bn include February’s Storm Eunice, which hit the UK and Ireland along with other parts of Europe, causing 16 deaths and costing £3.5bn.

Europe’s drought this summer – made several times more likely because of climate change – racked up costs of £16.5bn, hitting crop yields, driving up prices, affecting energy plants and disrupting shipping.

Droughts in China this year cost £6.9bn and in Brazil cost £3.3bn.

Floods in Australia in February to March led to 27 deaths and in South Africa in April, 459 people died in flooding, while both events displaced tens of thousands of people and cost billions.

Hugely expensive floods also hit China this year.

Flood victims from monsoon rain use a makeshift barge to carry hay for cattle, in Jaffarabad, a district of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province

Homes are surrounded by floodwaters in Sohbat Pur city, Baluchistan

Christian Aid chief executive, Patrick Watt, said: “Having 10 separate climate disasters in the last year that each cost more than three billion dollars points to the financial cost of inaction on the climate crisis. But behind the dollar figures lie millions of stories of human loss and suffering.

“Without major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this human and financial toll will only increase. The human cost of climate change is seen in the homes washed away by floods, loved ones killed by storms and livelihoods destroyed by drought. This year was a devastating one if you happened to live on the front line of the climate crisis.”

And he said: “The UK did not escape the ravages of climate change in 2022 with both Storm Eunice and the summer heatwave taking their toll.

“This underlines the need for policies to accelerate the transition to net zero and the folly of the decision to open a new coal mine in Cumbria.”

Search crews in Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Australia

Christian Aid also said the report showed the importance of the fund created at the Cop27 international talks this year to compensate people in poorer countries for the loss and damage they suffered from the climate crisis – which they have done least to cause – and the urgency of getting it up and running.

Here are 10 of the most expensive climate-related disasters in 2022 in terms of insured losses, according to the report:

February: Storm Eunice in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and UK, $4.3bn;

February-March: East Australia floods, $7.5bn;

April: Floods in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape, South Africa, $3bn;

June to September: Pakistan floods, $5.6bn;

June to September: China floods, $12.3bn;

June to September: European drought, $20bn;

September: Hurricane Fiona, Caribbean and Canada, $3bn;

September-October: Hurricane Ian, in Cuba and the US, $100bn;

All year: Brazil drought, $4bn;

All year: China drought, $8.4bn.

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