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BERLIN (AP) – Damage from Hurricane Ida in the US state of Louisiana and flash floods that hit Europe last summer helped make 2021 one of the costliest years in disasters natural, reinsurance company Munich Re said on Monday.

The company’s annual report put the overall economic losses caused by natural disasters around the world last year at $ 280 billion, making it the fourth costliest after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.

Insured losses in 2021 amounted to $ 120 billion, the second highest after 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the Americas, according to Munich Re.

More than a third of those insured losses last year were caused by Ida ($ 36 billion) and the July floods in Europe ($ 13 billion).

Nearly 10,000 deaths from a natural disaster in 2021, comparable to the death toll in recent years, Munich Re said.

The company warned that studies show a link between global warming and natural disasters.

“The pictures of natural disasters in 2021 are worrying,” said Torsten Jeworrek, member of the board of directors of Munich Re.

“Climate research increasingly confirms that extreme weather has become more likely,” he said. “Societies urgently need to adapt to increasing weather risks and make climate protection a priority. “

Satellite measurements show 2021 was one of the warmest years on record, with an annual average temperature 1.1 to 1.2 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period of 1850 to 1900, the service said on Monday. Copernicus of the European Union on climate change.

Europe had its hottest summer on record, he said.

Scientists say higher temperatures can cause the air to absorb more moisture, which in turn can lead to more extreme precipitation like that seen in western Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. last summer.

The resulting floods devastated entire villages and killed more than 220 people in what insurance companies called the costliest natural disaster Europe has ever seen.

“Even though events cannot be automatically attributed to climate change, analysis of changes over decades provides plausible indications of a link with warming of the atmosphere and oceans,” said Ernst Rauch, climatologist in chief of Munich Re, adding that adaptation to the increased risks would be “a challenge”.

The company noted that not all natural disasters are climate related, citing volcanic eruptions in Indonesia and Spain’s Canary Islands, and earthquakes like the one that hit Japan in February.

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