Nature and Biodiversity

How much do natural disasters cost the world?

Emma Luxton
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Nature and Biodiversity?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of the Environment is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of the Environment

Natural disasters caused a total of $1.5 trillion in damage worldwide between 2003 and 2013, according to a study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which finds they caused more than 1.1 million deaths and affected the lives of more than two billion people.

1512B24-cost of natural disaster infographic deaths affected damage

Source: FAO

Researchers also found an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters over the past three decades, with a corresponding rise in economic losses.

1512B24-natural disaster frequency weather FAO chart

Source: FAO

The study is based on a sample of 78 needs assessments undertaken in the aftermath of disasters between 2003 and 2013. It covered 48 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Developing countries are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, which often undermine overall economic growth and development and hit the agriculture sector particularly hard.

1512B24-world map natural 1995-2015 disasters global

Source: FAO

The study examined the impact of natural disasters on the agriculture sector and global food security. It showed that at least 22% of the damage caused in developing countries between 2003 and 2013 was in the agriculture sector.

The most devastating natural disaster for the agricultural sector was the 2008-2011 Kenya drought, which caused damage worth 10.5 billion US dollars to the country’s agriculture. Next worst was the 2010 flooding in Pakistan which cost 5.3 billion dollars.

To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Author: Emma Luxton is a Junior Content Producer at Formative Content.

Image: A palm tree is damaged on a beach near Port Vila, the capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu March 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kris Paras 

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityGeo-Economics and Politics
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Tourism is bouncing back - but can we make travel sustainable?

Robin Pomeroy and Sophia Akram

May 23, 2024

2:00

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum