Vietnam Suffers Rare $1 Billion Natural Catastrophe Loss: Aon Benfield Report

December 11, 2017

Typhoon Damrey made landfall in Vietnam during November as a Category 2 strength storm, bringing estimated economic damages of VND22.1 trillion (US$1.0 billion) – a rare billion-dollar event for the country, according to Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team.

This year marks the first time since 1993 in which Vietnam has had a season with a Category 2 storm (Damrey) and Category 3 storm (Doksuri) making landfall, said Impact Forecasting’s November 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap.

Damrey killed at least 108 people, injured 364, while 12 people were listed as missing as a result of the storm, which destroyed more than 3,560 homes and caused damage to an estimated 300,000 additional homes, said the report.

“The month of November featured an active stretch throughout parts of Asia. Vietnam endured its second significant typhoon landfall of 2017 after Typhoon Damrey left an estimated US$1.0 billion in economic damage, primarily due to flooding,” said Adam Podlaha, global head of Impact Forecasting. [Editor’s note: economic damage is uninsured damage].

“Additional floods were noted elsewhere in Asia with the return of the annual northeast monsoon, with particular impacts in sections of Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and Thailand,” he added. “Despite the expensive nature of these events, insurance penetration remains low in this part of the world and signifies the continued financial vulnerabilities of an at-risk population to natural disasters.”

Further natural hazard events to have occurred elsewhere during November include:

  • A major magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck northeastern Iraq, killing at least 543 people and injuring almost 10,000 others. At least 40,000 structures collapsed, primarily in rural areas with poor construction. Damage in Iran alone was estimated at up to IRR26 trillion (US$740 million). Local insurers cited that roughly 3 percent of residents in the affected region have insurance.
  • South Korea endured its joint strongest earthquake on record when a moderate magnitude-5.4 tremor struck Gyeongsangbuk-do province on November 15, injuring at least 57 people. The tremor caused damage to more than 1,000 homes and infrastructure.
  • Separate tremors also struck Tibet and China, causing damage to a combined 12,000 structures.
  • Powerful thunderstorms left widespread damage across parts of the United States in the Midwest and Northeast. The greatest impacts resulted from tornado touchdowns, hail larger than the size of baseballs, and damaging straight-line winds. Some of the hardest-hit areas came in the states of Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Total economic losses were estimated around US$275 million. Public and private insurers cited payouts nearing US$200 million.
  • A strong storm system in the Mediterranean Sea led to outbreaks of powerful thunderstorms in parts of Greece, Turkey and Italy. At least 17 fatalities were reported, along with considerable damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. The deadliest episode occurred in western Attika region of central Greece.
  • Seasonal flooding associated with the northeast monsoon led to flood damage in at least nine provinces in southern Thailand. At least five people were killed and 161,266 homes were inundated.
  • Flooding rains from Cyclone Cempaka killed 11 people in Indonesia.
  • Additional flooding in November was recorded in Sri Lanka, Norway and India.
  • Mount Agung began erupting on Indonesia’s Bali Island, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights and prompting massive evacuations due to plumes of ash.

Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting

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