List of disasters by cost
Disasters can be particularly notable for the high costs associated with responding to and recovering from them.
This page lists the economic costs of relatively recent disasters.
- 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Japan: estimated more than $300 billion
- 2008 Sichuan earthquake, China, $148 billion
- Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf of Mexico, 2010: Between $60 and $100 billion.
- Hurricane Katrina, United States, August 2005: insurances compensated $45 billion;
- 2011 Thailand floods: $45.7 billion (World Bank estimate of total economic damages and losses)
- Hurricane Ike, United States, September 2008, $ 29.6 billion
- 1998 Yangtze River floods, China: $26 billion.
- Hurricane Andrew, United States, August 1992: $ 25 billion
- September 11 terrorist attacks, 2001: $20.7 billion;
- Chernobyl disaster, 1986: $15 billion estimated cost of direct loss. It is estimated that the damages could accumulate to €235 billion for Ukraine and €201 billion for Belarus in the thirty years following the accident;
- 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, many nations, $15 billion
- 2011 Christchurch earthquake, New Zealand,$13 billion;
- Armero tragedy, Colombia, 1985, $7 billion.
- Exxon Valdez oil spill, 1989: The clean-up of the oil spill cost an estimated $2.5 billion; recovery for settlements, $1.1 billion; and the economic loss (fisheries, tourism, etc.) suffered due to the damage to the Alaskan ecosystem was estimated at $2.8 billion;
- Cedar Fire, United States, 2003, $2 billion
- AZF chemical plant explosion, Toulouse, France, 2001: €1.8 billion
- 2011 Slave Lake wildfire, Canada, $1.8 billion.
The costs of disasters vary considerably depending on a range of factors, such as the geographical location where they occur. When a disaster occurs in a densely-populated area in a wealthy country, the financial damage might be huge, but when a comparable disaster occurs in a densely-populated area in a poorer country, the actual financial damage might relatively small, in part due to a lack of insurance. For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, with a death toll of over 230,000 people, cost a 'mere' $15 billion, whereas in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which 11 people died, the damages were six-fold.
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