From wildfires to mudslides, 2017 was a tough year to keep up on all the natural disasters across the globe. The United States and the Caribbean were hit hard by multiple hurricanes within the span of a month. Mexico grappled with two major earthquakes a mere week apart. China suffered major flooding problems while large parts of Europe endured serious drought.
If you put all of 2017’s natural disasters together, economically speaking, it was the second-costliest year of all-time, according to a new report from the reinsurance company Aon Benfield, as the global economic loss exceeded US$353 billion. If you count weather disasters alone, the total cost exceeded $344 billion, the most expensive year in history.
Where was all the damage done? Here are a few of the costliest natural disasters of 2017:
One month, three hurricanes
Between late August and the end of September, three separate hurricanes wreaked havoc on the United States, the Caribbean Islands or both. Hurricane’s Harvey, Maria and Irma were the three costliest natural disasters of 2017 with an total estimated economic cost of US$220 billion, accounting 62 per cent of all global economic damages from weather disasters.
The costliest of the three, economically speaking, was Hurricane Harvey and the estimated US$100 billion in economic loss to America. The most destructive in terms of lives lost, however, was Hurricane Maria, which killed hundreds of people in the Caribbean.
Too much water in China
Massive floods in China over the summer—mostly along the Yangtze River basin—resulted in the costliest natural disaster outside of North America last year, with an estimated US$7.5 billion in economic losses on top of 116 deaths. A typhoon that struck China and Hong Kong later in August led to another 22 deaths and US$3.5 billion in economic losses.
Too little water in southern Europe
From the summer and throughout the fall, a prolonged drought throughout Portugal, Italy and Spain caused $6.6 billion worth of damages. The United States also had its drought problems during the same time period, mostly in the Midwest and the Rockies, where drought conditions caused more than $2.5 billion worth of damages to the agriculture sector.
Wildfires in wine country
Last October, the most destructive wildfire in the state of California’s history killed 43 people and cost the stat’s economy about $13 billion as flames tore through the famous Napa Valley wine region.
Earthquakes in Mexico
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake in central Mexico on September 19th killed 370 people and caused more than $4.5 billion in damage as buildings collapsed in Mexico City. The destruction came about a week after an 8.2 magnitude quake struck offshore in Mexico’s Chiapas region, killing nearly 100 and causing another $1.3 billion in damages.
The deadliest of all
In dollar terms, the mudslides in Sierra Leone last August hit the country’s economy to the sum of $30 million. But the cost in human life was the most horrific of all natural disasters in 2017. In the coastal African nation at least 1,141 people were killed when a hillside on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Freetown, collapsed following days of torrential rain.
WATCH: Drone Video Shows Sierra Leone Mudslide
MORE ABOUT EXTREME WEATHER:
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- ‘It looked like a spaceship’: What it’s like to be caught in a sandstorm
- ‘This is like a living thing’: How it feels to escape a wildfire
- ‘Run! It’s coming this way’: What it’s like at the centre of a tornado
- ‘It came right through the shop’: How to endure a B.C. mudslide
- ‘You don’t know what’s under your feet’: How to survive a North Pole storm
- How storm surges, landslides and tornadoes can make hurricanes even more dangerous
- 9 weird things that fell from the sky over Canada