Thursday, October 02, 2008

WEATHER-RELATED DISASTERS DOMINATE

World Watch - In 2007, there were 874 weather-related disasĀ­ters worldwide, a 13 percent increase over 2006 and the highest number since the systematic recording of natural perils began in 1974. Weather-related disasters around the world have been on the rise for decades: on average, 300 events were recorded every year in the 1980s, 480 events in the 1990s, and 620 events in the last 10 years.

In 2007, weather-related disasters accounted for 91 percent of all natural disasters, a classification that also includes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and dry mass movements. About 81 percent of economic losses from natural catastrophes and 97 percent of insured losses resulted from weather-related disasters.

The United States suffered particularly from forest fires and heat waves in 2007. In California, hundreds of destructive wildland fires occurred. Economic losses rose to $2.7 billion.