Counting the Economic Cost of Natural Disasters
The devastating earthquake in Nepal over the weekend has killed more than 3,000 and left tens of thousands homeless. Its impact on the mountain kingdom's economy is likely to be severe, with near-term growth set to contract without international aid. Nepal is one of Asia’s poorest countries, and the U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated economic losses from the temblor at 9 percent to 50 percent of its gross domestic product, with a best guess of 35 percent.
According to the UN, the Asia Pacific region is the world's most disaster-prone. The economic impact is big: between 1970 and 2013, over $2.8 trillion in economic losses were reported globally from natural disasters, with Asia and the Pacific alone reporting $1.15 trillion of that total, according to UNESCAP. The share of Asia and the Pacific in the global total has shown an increasing trend, reaching half of global economic losses in recent years, it said.