American Red Cross
According to a report by Germany-based re-insurer, Munich Re, 2008 had less natural disasters during the year than 2007; however, the catastrophes that occurred during 2008 proved to be more destructive in terms of number of victims and financial costs.
Cyclone Nargis which lashed Myanmar on May 2-3, killed more than 135,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless.
Sichuan province Earthquakein China left 70,000 dead, 18,000 missing, and almost 5 million homeless. It was also the most expensive single catastrophe of 2008, causing around 85 billion dollars worth of damage. This helped make 2008 the 3rd most expensive year on record.
A cold-snap in Afghanistan, Kyrgystan, and Tajikistan killed 1,000 people.
Flooding in Indian, Napal and Bangladesh during August and September killed 635 people.
6 Hurricanes that hit the southern United States, including Ike, was the most costliest catastrophe of the year with about 10 billion dollars of insured losses. The total death toll for the Atlantic storms was 461 people.
Only 2005, when a large number of hurricanes hit the southern United States, and 1995, year of the Kobe earthquakes in Japan, have wreaked more destruction since records began in 1900.
It is also important to note that both the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Soceites and the American Red Cross played a role in the response and recovery efforts for most–if not all–of these disasters. The American Red Cross was most active in disasters that occurred right here at home.
Here’s hoping that 2009 doesn’t set any new records disaster-wise. But, just in case, it always pays to be prepared!