List of disasters by cost

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Disasters can have high costs associated with responding to and recovering from them. This page lists the estimated economic costs of relatively recent disasters.

The costs of disasters vary considerably depending on a range of factors, such as the geographical location where they occur. When a large disaster occurs in a wealthy country, the financial damage may be large, but when a comparable disaster occurs in a poorer country, the actual financial damage may appear to be relatively small. This is in part due to the difficulty of measuring the financial damage in areas that lack insurance. For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, with a death toll of around 230,000 people, cost a 'mere' $15 billion,[1] whereas in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which 11 people died, the damages were six-fold.

The most expensive disaster in human history is the Chernobyl disaster, costing an estimated $700 billion.[2] Chernobyl's circumstances make it a unique but particularly devastating situation that is unlikely to ever happen again. Estimations have only increased over time, with the recent figure coming from the release of new government data up to 2016.[2] Furthermore, the cost is expected to perpetually increase for several thousand years as cleanup operations and the economic impact of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone continue indefinitely.[3] The most expensive natural disaster is the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, costing an estimated $360 billion.[4]

Over $1 Billion[edit]

This table lists disasters which are estimated to have an economic cost of at least 1 billion United States dollars without taking inflation into account.

List of disasters by cost
Cost Fatalities Event Type Year Nation
$Billion $Billion (2021)
$12,000+[5] $12,000+ 6,602,532+ COVID-19 pandemic Pandemic 2020-present Global
$700[2] $790 220[6][7] - 27,000[8] Chernobyl disaster [1] Contamination (Radioactive) 1986 Soviet Union Soviet Union (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic)
$360[9][10][4] $434 19,747 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami Earthquake, Tsunami, Contamination (Radioactive) 2011 Japan Japan
$197[11] $350.3 5,502 – 6,434 Great Hanshin earthquake Earthquake 1995 Japan Japan
$196.5[12][13] $197 237[14][15][16][17] February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm Winter storm, Infrastructure failure (electric) 2021 North America (United States, Mexico, Canada)
$148[18] $186 87,587 2008 Sichuan earthquake Earthquake 2008 China China
$125[19] $173 1,245 – 1,836 Hurricane Katrina Tropical cyclone 2005 United States United States
$125[19] $138 107 Hurricane Harvey Tropical cyclone 2017 United States United States
$105[20][21] $110 6,511 2020 South Asian floods Flood 2020 South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, others)
$91.6[19] $101 3,057 – 8,498[22] Hurricane Maria Tropical cyclone 2017 North America (Puerto Rico, Dominica, Guadeloupe, others)
$75 - $120[23][24] $75 - $120 89-117[25] Hurricane Ian Tropical cyclone 2022 North America (United States, Cuba, Venezuela, others)
$75[26] $75 115 Hurricane Ida Tropical cyclone 2021 North America (United States, Cuba, others)
$70[27] $73 451 2019–20 Australian bushfire season Wildfire 2019-20 Australia Australia
$68.7[19] $81 233 Hurricane Sandy Tropical cyclone 2012 North America (United States, Haiti, Cuba, others)
$64.8[19] $72 134 Hurricane Irma Tropical cyclone 2017 North America (United States, Sint Maarten, Collectivity of Saint Martin, others)
$60 – $100[28] $75 – $124 11 Deepwater Horizon oil spill Contamination (Oil) 2010 United States United States
$53.25[29] $116 4,800 – 17,000 1988–1990 North American drought Drought 1988-89 United States United States, Canada Canada
$49.6 – $56.1[30] $58 – $65 104 2012–2013 North American drought Drought 2012-13 United States United States, Canada Canada
$49[31] $90 57 1994 Northridge earthquake Earthquake 1994 United States United States
$45.7[32] $55 815 2011 Thailand floods Flood 2011 Thailand Thailand
$40[33] $48 185 2011 Christchurch earthquake Earthquake 2011 New Zealand New Zealand
$40[34] $40 1,700 2022 Pakistan floods Flood 2022 Pakistan Pakistan
$38[19] $48 214 Hurricane Ike Tropical cyclone 2008 North America (United States, Haiti, Cuba, others)
$32[35][36] $34 278[37] 2020 China floods Flood 2020 China China
$28[38][39] $40 68 2004 Chūetsu earthquake Earthquake 2004 Japan Japan
$27.4[19] $38 87 Hurricane Wilma Tropical cyclone 2005 North America (United States, Mexico, Haiti, others)
$27.3[19] $52.7 65 Hurricane Andrew Tropical cyclone 1992 United States United States
$26.1[19] $37.4 124 Hurricane Ivan Tropical cyclone 2004 North America (United States, Grenada, Jamaica, others)
$25.1[40] $27.1 74 Hurricane Michael Tropical cyclone 2018 North America (United States, Cuba, Honduras, others)
$24.0[30] $25.9 103 2018 California wildfires Wildfire 2018 United States United States
$21.8 – $135[41] $33.4 – $206.6 2,996 September 11 terrorist attacks Terror attack 2001 United States United States
$19.2 $28.9 110 2002 European floods Flood 2002 Central Europe (Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, others)
$19.1[35][42] $20 77 Hurricane Laura Tropical cyclone 2020 North America (United States, Dominican Republic, Haiti, others)
$18.5[19] $25.7 97 – 125 Hurricane Rita Tropical cyclone 2005 United States United States
$17.6[43] $28.6 140 Cyclone Lothar European windstorm 1999 Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, others)
$16.9[19] $24.2 35 Hurricane Charley Tropical cyclone 2004 North America (United States, Jamaica, Cuba)
$16.0[44] $20.2 308 2009 L'Aquila earthquake Earthquake 2009 Italy Italy
$15.8[45] $18.6 27 2012 Northern Italy earthquakes Earthquake 2012 Italy Italy
$15.1[46][47] $17 603 Hurricane Matthew Tropical cyclone 2016 North America (Haiti, United States, Cuba, others)
$15 – $20[48] $28.1 – $37.5 47 Great Flood of 1993 Flood 1993 United States United States
$15.0[49] $31.1 197 Cyclones Daria, Vivian, and Wiebke European windstorm 1990 Western Europe (United Kingdom, Germany, France, others)
$15[1] $21.5 230,000 – 280,000 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami Earthquake, Tsunami 2004 Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, others)
$15.0[50][51] $16.6 44 October 2017 Northern California wildfires Wildfire 2017 United States United States
$15 – $30[52] $18.6 – $37.3 525 2010 Chile earthquake Earthquake 2010  Chile
$14.2[19] $17.1 58 Hurricane Irene Tropical cyclone 2011 North America (United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, others)
$13 – $14[53][35] $13.6 – $14.7 128[54] Cyclone Amphan Tropical cyclone 2020 Eastern South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, others)
$12.9[55] $16.2 138,366 Cyclone Nargis Tropical cyclone 2008 Myanmar Myanmar
$12.7[56] $14.5 130 November 2015 Paris attacks Terror attack 2015 France France
$11.6 – $18.9[57] $18.9 – $30.7 17,118 – 17,127 1999 İzmit earthquake Earthquake 1999 Turkey Turkey
$11.5[58] $12 4[58] August 2020 Midwest derecho Severe thunderstorm 2020  United States
$10.4[59] $12.1 12 Typhoon Fitow Tropical cyclone 2013 China China
$10.2[30] $12.3 348 2011 Super Outbreak Tornado 2011 United States United States
$10 – $15[60] $10.5 – $15.7 204+[61][62] 2020 Beirut explosion Explosion 2020 Lebanon Lebanon
$10 – $15[63] $11.3 – $16.9 13 2016 Louisiana floods Flood 2016 United States United States
$10[30] $32.9 1,700 – 10,000 1980 United States heat wave Drought 1980 United States United States
$10[64] $19.9 64 Typhoon Mireille Tropical cyclone 1991 Japan Japan
$10[65] $11.4 8,964 April 2015 Nepal earthquake Earthquake 2015 Nepal Nepal
$10[49] $13.1 44 Cyclone Kyrill European windstorm 2007 Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, others)
$10[30] $12.6 16 June 2008 Midwest floods Flood 2008 United States United States
$9.8[19][66][67][68] $14.1 50 Hurricane Frances Tropical cyclone 2004 North America (United States, The Bahamas)
$9.5[19] $20.8 60 Hurricane Hugo Tropical cyclone 1989 North America (United States, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, others)
$9.5[69][70] $10.7 2 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire Wildfire 2016 Canada Canada
$9.4[19] $15.6 604 Hurricane Georges Tropical cyclone 1998 North America (Puerto Rico, United States, Dominican Republic, others)
$9[71] $12.9 28 Typhoon Songda Tropical cyclone 2004 Japan Japan
$8.5[19] $13 55 Tropical Storm Allison Tropical cyclone 2001 United States United States
$8.3[19] $10.4 153 Hurricane Gustav Tropical cyclone 2008 North America (United States, Cuba, Haiti, others)
$8.1 – $14[72][73] $10.1 – $17.4 100,000 – 220,000 2010 Haiti earthquake Earthquake 2010 Haiti Haiti
$7.9[19] $11.3 3,035 Hurricane Jeanne Tropical cyclone 2004 North America (Haiti, United States, Dominican Republic, others)
$7.9[35] $8.3 211 Hurricane Eta Tropical cyclone 2020 North America (Honduras, United States, Guatemala, others)
$7.3[58] $7.6 5[58] Hurricane Sally Tropical cyclone 2020  United States
$7.13[74] $8.2 196 Typhoon Rammasun Tropical cyclone 2014 Southeast Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, China, others)
$7[75] $15.3 0 Exxon Valdez oil spill Contamination (Oil) 1989 North America (United States, Canada)
$6.5[19] $10.6 74 Hurricane Floyd Tropical cyclone 1999 North America (United States, The Bahamas, Canada)
$6.4[76] $9.4 7 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster Space flight accident 2003 United States United States
$6.2[77] $6.9 630 2017 Iran–Iraq earthquake Earthquake 2017 Iran Iran, IraqIraq
$6.2[78] $7.8 789 Typhoon Morakot Tropical cyclone 2009 Southeast Asia (Taiwan, China, Philippines, others)
$6.3[27] $8 173 Black Saturday bushfires Wildfire 2009 Australia Australia
$6.1[19] $10.1 11,374+ Hurricane Mitch Tropical cyclone 1998 North America (Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, others)
$6.1[49] $7.6 75 Cyclone Xynthia European windstorm 2010 Western Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, others)
$6[79] $9.4 75 Typhoon Prapiroon Tropical cyclone 2000 Northeast Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, others)
$6[80] $8.8 11 Northeast blackout of 2003 Infrastructure failure (electric) 2003 United States United States, Canada Canada
$6[49] $7.6 26 Cyclone Klaus European windstorm 2009 Southeastern Europe (France, Spain, Italy, others)
$6[81] $7 5 2013 Alberta floods Flood 2013 Canada Canada
$5.5[49] $7.6 24 Cyclone Gudrun European windstorm 2005 North Europe (United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, others)
$5.5[19] $8.1 51 Hurricane Isabel Tropical cyclone 2003 United States United States
$5.5[82] $10.3 270[82] 1993 Storm of the Century Winter storm 1993  United States
$5.2[83] $7.2 86,000 – 87,351 2005 Kashmir earthquake Earthquake 2005  Pakistan,  India
$5.1[84][85][86] $5.4 84[85][86] Hurricane Dorian Tropical cyclone 2019 North America (The Bahamas,United States,Canada, others)
$5[87] $12.6 10,000 – 35,000 1985 Mexico City earthquake Earthquake 1985 Mexico Mexico
$5[88] $8.6 284 – 590 Typhoon Herb Tropical cyclone 1996 East Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan)
$5[89] $5.3 5[89] Tropical Storm Imelda Tropical cyclone 2019  United States
$4.7[19] $8.4 63 Hurricane Opal Tropical cyclone 1995 North America (Mexico, Guatemala, United States, others)
$4.6[90][91][92] $5.4 6,329 – 7,403 Typhoon Haiyan Tropical cyclone 2013 Southeast Asia (Philippines, China, Taiwan, others)
$4.4[93] $5.8 78 Cyclone Gonu Tropical cyclone 2007 Oman Oman
$4.2[94] $4.9 123 Hurricane Manuel Tropical cyclone 2013 Mexico Mexico
$4.1[30] $6 42 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 2003 Tornado 2003 United States United States
$4[49] $9.5 22 Great Storm of 1987 European windstorm 1987 Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Spain, others)
$3.9[95] $3.9 90 Tornado outbreak of December 10–11, 2021 Tornado 2021 United States United States
$3.6[96] $4.3 7 Cyclone Yasi Tropical cyclone 2011 Australia Australia
$3.2[97] $7.9 7[98] Space Shuttle Challenger disaster Space flight accident 1986 United States United States
$3.1[19] $6 6 Hurricane Iniki Tropical cyclone 1992 United States United States
$3.0[19] $6.9 318 Hurricane Gilbert Tropical cyclone 1988 North America (Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti, others)
$2.9[30] $3.4 22 June 2012 North American derecho Severe storm 2012 United States United States
$2.9[30] $3.1 3 2019 Midwestern U.S. floods Flood 2019 United States United States
$2.8[99] $3.4 158 2011 Joplin tornado Tornado 2011 United States United States
$2.68[100] $4.1 29 AZF chemical plant explosion Explosion 2001 France France
$2.5[30] $2.6 8 Tornado outbreak sequence of May 2019 Tornado 2019 United States United States
$2.5[30] $2.8 2 2017 Montana wildfires Drought, Wildfire 2017 United States United States
$2.5[30] $2.8 0 2017 Minneapolis hailstorm Hailstorm 2017 United States United States
$2.2[30] $2.4 0 2017 Denver hailstorm Hailstorm 2017 United States United States
$2.1[30] $2.3 0 Tornado outbreak of March 6–7, 2017 Tornado 2017 United States United States
$2[101] $2.4 33 Costa Concordia disaster Maritime disaster 2012 Italy Italy
$2 – $4[102] $2.2 – $4.4 370 2017 Central Mexico earthquake Earthquake 2017 Mexico Mexico
$1.8[103] $2.2 36[103] 2011 Groundhog Day blizzard Winter storm 2011 North America (United States,Canada,Mexico)
$1.4[104] $1.6 44 Cyclone Winston Tropical cyclone 2016 Fiji Fiji
$1.3[105] $1.3 1 2021 Fukushima earthquake Earthquake 2021 Japan Japan
$1.24 – $2[106] $1.8 – $2.9 15 Cedar Fire Wildfire 2003 United States United States
$1.2 – $1.4[107][35][108] $1.3 – $1.5 0 2020 Calgary hailstorm Hailstorm 2020 Canada Canada
$1.1[109] $1.3 1,901 Typhoon Bopha Tropical cyclone 2012 Philippines Philippines
$1.1[110] $4.1 0 Three Mile Island accident Contamination (Radiation) 1979 United States United States
$1[111] $1.3 921 Typhoon Ketsana Tropical cyclone 2009 Southeast Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos)
$1[112] $2.5 22,540 Armero tragedy Volcano 1985 Colombia Colombia
$1 $1 98 Surfside condominium collapse Structure failure 2021 United States United States

Under $1 Billion[edit]

This table lists notable disasters which are estimated to have an economic cost of less than 1 billion United States dollars without taking inflation into account. This includes historical disasters, such as the Great Chicago Fire, which would surpass the value of $1 billion in modern currency.

Note: All damage figures are listed in millions of United States dollars.

List of disasters by cost
Cost Fatalities Event Type Year Nation
$Million $Million (2021)
$922[113] $1041 14 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires Wildfire 2016 United States United States
$500 – $600[114] $2747 – $3297 71 Cyclone Tracy Tropical cyclone 1974 Australia Australia
$700[115] $1393 800 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption Volcano 1991 Philippines Philippines
$700[116] $843 1 2011 Slave Lake wildfire Wildfire 2011 Canada Canada
$483[117][118][119] - $543[120] $631 - 710 13 I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapse Structure failure 2007 United States United States
$370[121] $639 0 Ariane 5 Flight 501 Space flight accident 1996 France French Guiana
$350[122] $1565 1 New York City blackout of 1977 Infrastructure failure (electric) 1977 United States United States
$328[123] $534 0 Mars Climate Orbiter & Mars Polar Lander Space flight accident 1999 United States United States
$273[124] $308 0 Hitomi breakup Space flight accident 2016 Japan Japan
$222[125] $5022 300 Great Chicago Fire Fire 1871 United States United States
$118[126] $164 0 CryoSat-1 Space flight accident 2005 Russia Russia
$25[127][128] $702 1,490 – 1,635 Sinking of the Titanic Shipwreck 1912 United Kingdom United Kingdom
$18.1[129] $162 0 Mariner 1 Space flight accident 1962 United States United States

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