Losses from natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region increased to approximately $70bn in 2022 with insured losses rising to around $10bn, according to Munich Re’s Nat CAT report 2022. By Ahmad Zaki
In Asia, industrialized countries accounted for a high proportion of insured losses, following past trends. Apart from the floods in Australia, an earthquake in Japan were the disasters with the highest insured losses in the region. The 7.4 magnitude earthquake caused overall losses of $8.8bn, of which $2.8bn was insured and was the second costliest natural disaster in the Asia-Pacific region after the floods in Pakistan, which was the year’s second costliest and greatest humanitarian disaster.
The flooding in Pakistan resulted from record-breaking monsoon rainfall during the June to October period. In the month of August, rainfall there was between five and seven times heavier than usual. Accelerated glacier melt as a result of the high temperatures significantly increased the flooding. At least 1,700 people were killed. According to the report, direct losses are estimated to be at least $15bn – an enormous amount given the size of the country’s GDP.
In China, a protracted heatwave and drought, with temperatures of over 44°C in many parts of the country, led to water shortages and crop failures. The water level in the Yangtze, the longest and economically most important river in the country, receded significantly, as did the levels in many other rivers and reservoirs. In some areas, shipping was suspended and the electricity yield from hydroelectric stations fell drastically. Several large industrial corporations had to temporarily suspend production. According to rough estimates, the damage, including losses from crop failures, could be in the midsingle-digit billions, virtually none of which will have been insured.
Global risks ranked by severity over the short and long term
“Please estimate the likely impact (severity) of the following risks over a 2-year and 10-year period”
Source: World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2022-2023