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The costliest year of natural disasters ever: By the numbers
In the first six months of 2011, the damage caused by natural catastrophes is a whopping $265 billion — surpassing the previous yearly record
 
Survivors of the deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo., hug in front of the wreckage: The severe storms that ripped through the U.S. in April and May inflicted an estimated $14.5 billion in damage.
Survivors of the deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo., hug in front of the wreckage: The severe storms that ripped through the U.S. in April and May inflicted an estimated $14.5 billion in damage.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The damage caused by natural disasters from January through June has made 2011 the most costly year ever recorded for such catastrophes — and the year's only half over. How do the costs break down? Here, the record losses, by the numbers:

$265 billion
Total cost of damages caused by natural disasters in the first six months of 2011, according to German insurer Munich Re

$220 billion
Total cost of damages caused by natural disasters in all of 2005, which is the year that held the previous cost record, says Tim Wall at Discovery News

$130 billion
Total cost of damages in 2010, less than half of what has accrued in the first half of 2011

5
Factor by which the damages for the first half of 2011 are greater than the annual average for this decade

335
The number of disasters tallied so far this year

$210 billion
Total damages caused by the Japan earthquake alone, making it the costliest natural disaster on record

$125 billion
Total damages caused by Hurricane Katrina, the biggest disaster of previous record-holder 2005, and the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, says Jason Samenow at The Washington Post

$20 billion
Total damages caused by February's earthquake in New Zealand

$14.5 billion
Total damages caused by the severe storms and tornadoes in the U.S. in April and May

$7.3 billion
Total damages caused by the Australian floods at the beginning of this year

19,380
Number of people who have died as a result of natural disasters so far in 2011

15,500
Number of those deaths that were caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami

230,300
Number of people who died as a result of natural disasters in 2010

225,000
Number of those deaths that were caused by the Haitian earthquake, the biggest disaster of that year

Sources: Bloomberg, Discovery NewsMunich ReWashington Post

 

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