About 55 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions at the end of June 2012, according to a report by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). This is the largest percentage since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was affected by such conditions. June 2012 also marked the fourth-warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Drought conditions in Texas in 2011 caused $1 billion in insured losses, according to Munich Re. The persistent drought resulted in the worst wildfire year on record in the state.
Droughts and heat waves accounted for two of the deadliest natural disasters in the world since 1980, including a 2010 heat wave in Russia that caused 56,000 deaths and nearly $2 billion in economic losses, according to a 2011 report by Munich Re. The major part of the direct economic losses of heat waves are secondary effects such as drought, subsidence and wildfires, according to Munich Re.
Europe is witnessing a dramatic increase in property damage as a result of drought-induced soil subsidence, according to a 2011 study from Swiss Re. Prolonged dry spells can cause the ground to sink by so much that cracks appear in the earth, tearing apart the foundations of houses, bridges, factories and other structures. In France alone, subsidence-related losses have risen by more than 50 percent in the last two decades.
(1) The symbols show the most affected regions. The map shows events with property losses and/or fatalities.
|Date||Event||Country/region||Overall losses||Insured losses (2)||Fatalities|
|Jan. 12, 2010||Earthquake||Haiti: Port-au-Prince, Petionville||$8,000||$200||222,570|
|Dec. 26, 2004||Earthquake, tsunami||Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, India,
Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia
|May 2-5, 2008||Cyclone Nargis||Myanmar: Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bugalay,
Irrawaddy, Bago, Karen, Mon, Laputta, Haing Kyi
|Apr. 29-30, 1991||Tropical cyclone||Bangladesh: Bay of Bengal, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong,
Bola, Noakhali districts, esp. Kutubdia
|Oct. 8, 2005||Earthquake||Pakistan, India, Afghanistan||5,200||5||88,000|
|May 12, 2008||Earthquake||China: Sichuan, Mianyang, Beichuan, Wenchuan, Shifang,
Chengdu, Guangyuan, Ngawa, Ya’an
|Jul.-Aug. 2003||Heat wave, drought||France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain,
|Jul.-Sep. 2010||Heat wave, drought||Russia||2,000||20||56,000|
|Jun. 6, 1990||Earthquake||Iran: Caspian Sea, Gilan Provinz, Manjil, Rudbar, Zanjan,
|Dec. 8-19, 1999||Floods, flash floods||Venezuela, Vargas, La Guaira Punta de Mulatos, Miranda,
Nueva Esparta, Yaracuy, Colombia
(1) As of March 2011.
(2) Based on property losses including, if applicable, agricultural, offshore, marine, aviation and National Flood Insurance Program losses in the United States and may differ from data shown elsewhere.
Source – Munich-Re