Monsoonal flooding across Southern Asia kills hundreds and incurs multi-billion economic loss
According to reports, more than 467 people have been killed this season in India and many thousands of acres of cropland were destroyed. The states of Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were among the worst affected. Economic losses were expected to reach well into millions of U.S. dollars with significant costs to agriculture and infrastructure
Total economic losses, largely flood-driven, were expected to exceed US$600 million, while public and private insurers paid out nearly US$300 million, said Aon in its latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events.
Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana during July, establishing a new state record for the highest hurricane-induced rainfall of 16.59 inches in Arkansas, the report said, noting that five states have now set new hurricane-related rainfall records since 2017 alone: Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its August forecast for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Forecasters within the U.S. governmental agency are forecasting 10-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 2-4 major hurricanes (Category 3+) during the season. This includes the two storms (Andrea and Barry) which already occurred and is a slight increase from the initial projection released in May.
Turning to other global events during July, Aon said that monsoonal flooding across Southern Asia killed hundreds, flooding an estimated 600,000 homes in Bangladesh. These floods incurred a notable economic loss.
According to reports, more than 467 people have been killed this season in India and many thousands of acres of cropland were destroyed. The states of Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were among the worst affected. Economic losses were expected to reach well into millions of U.S. dollars with significant costs to agriculture and infrastructure.
Seasonal rainfall associated with the Mei-yu frontal boundary brought additional flooding across southern sections of China within the Yangtze River Basin and northern China in July. At least 112 people were left dead or missing across the provincial regions of Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Fujian, Zhejiang, Chongqing, Guizhou, and Heilongjiang.
Data from China’s Ministry of Emergency Management cited that 26,000 homes were destroyed, and 195,000 hectares (482,000 acres) of cropland was damaged. Total economic losses during this time exceeded CNY47 billion (USD6.8 billion). The seasonal combined economic flood cost rose to roughly USD12 billion.
Another record-breaking heatwave hit multiple European countries at the end of July, a month after the first wave of record heat in June. Five countries recorded all-time national highs – Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and United Kingdom. Extreme heat, coupled with relatively low rainfall in some regions, caused notable health impacts and likely affected multiple economic sectors.
“The summer of 2019 has thus far highlighted several meteorological and climatological hazards across the Northern Hemisphere and further exposed humanitarian vulnerabilities,” said Steve Bowen, Meteorologist and head of Catastrophe Insight within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team.
“Parts of Europe and the Arctic have endured record-breaking heat which has resulted in an accelerated seasonal decline of polar sea ice, exacerbated wildfires and enhanced drought conditions,” he said. “At the same time, seasonal flooding across Asia has affected millions of people.”
He said issue of climate resilience becomes even more important, “as we continue to face further population and exposure growth in regions, which are among the most at-risk as climate conditions evolve…”