Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2016: a year of widespread damages
This sigma document provides a summary of disaster events in 2016. In sigma criteria terms, there were 327 disaster events in 2016, of which 191 were natural catastrophes and 136 were man-made. Total economic losses and global insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2016 were the highest since 2012, reversing the downtrend of the previous four years. In terms of devastation wreaked, there were a number of large-scale disasters across the world in 2016, including earthquakes in Japan, Ecuador, Tanzania, Italy and New Zealand. There were also a number of severe floods in the US and across Europe and Asia, and a record high number of weather events in the US. The strongest was Hurricane Matthew, which became the first Category 5 storm to form over the North Atlantic since 2007, and which caused the largest loss of life – more than 700 victims, mostly in Haiti – of a single event in the year. Another expansive, and expensive, disaster was the wildfire that spread through Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada from May to July.