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Drought losses to top $8 billion: Aon Benfield

By Rosemary Onuoha

Global economic losses from drought will surpass current estimates of $8 billion ($11.39 billion) as El Nino continues to strengthen, Impact Forecasting warns.

The Aon Benfield subsidiary’s monthly report on natural disasters says severe drought conditions persisted in western regions of the US, with economic losses expected to reach at least $3 billion ($4.27 billion).

Drought conditions also affected eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Central America last month, with combined economic losses of more than $US2.6 billion ($3.7 billion) in Romania, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

“As we continue to see the prospect of El Nino becoming one of the strongest in decades, more and more impacts will be apparent around the world,” Impact Forecasting Associate Director and Meteorologist Steve Bowen said.

Also last month Super Typhoon Soudelor caused economic losses of $US3.2 billion ($4.56 billion) as it crossed Saipan, part of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific, Taiwan and China. Soudelor was followed by Typhoon Goni, which hit the Philippines, the Korean peninsula, and Japan, killing 70 people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

Heavy monsoon rains killed hundreds throughout Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Wildfires hit western US, Canada’s British Columbia and southern and central Europe, with costs soaring well beyond $US1 billion ($1.42 billion) globally.

Heatwave conditions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa killed at least 125 people.

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