What is the trend in the number of natural disasters and in the damage costs caused by them?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CSI 042 , CLIM 039
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Key messages

(14 Nov 2012)

  • Hydro-meteorological events (storms, floods, and landslides) account for 64 % of the reported damages due to natural disasters in Europe since 1980; climatological events (extreme temperatures; droughts and forest fires) account for another 20 %.
  • Overall damages from extreme weather events have increased from EUR 9 billion in the 1980s to more than EUR 13 billion in the 2000s (inflation-corrected).
  • The observed damage increase is primarily due to increases in population, economic wealth and human activities in hazard-prone areas and to better reporting.
  • It is currently difficult to determine accurately the proportion of damage costs that are attributable to climate change. The contribution of climate change to the damage costs from natural disasters is expected to increase due to the projected changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.

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