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Natural Disasters Deadly, Costly in 2010

2010 was a deadly, and costly, year for natural disasters, a new report released today reveals.

More than 295,000 people died and more than $130 billion in damage from natural disasters was reported by the world's largest insurer, Munich Re. Those totals are up from 11,000 deaths and $60 billion in losses in 2009. The average number of fatalities from natural disasters over the past 30 years is 66,000, with average losses around $95 billion. [Related: The Biggest Natural Disasters of 2010 ]

The locations of the natural disasters were similar to that of previous years, with 365 hitting the American continent, 310 striking Asia,120 recorded in Europe, 90 in Africa and 65 in Australia/Oceania.

About 75 percent of the death toll was from the massive earthquake in Haiti, a magnitude-7.0 temblor that struck on Jan. 12, killing 222,570 people. Overall losses from this quake were $8 billion, a low figure because many in Haiti were uninsured.

The earthquake in Chile  on Feb. 27, a magnitude-8.8, and the following tsunami killed 520. This earthquake was 2010's most expensive, with overall losses of $30 billion. [See images of Chile's raised coast.]

The heatwaves and forest fires in Russia, from July to September, killed some 56,000, the deadliest disaster in Russia's history.

Other disasters with high death tolls included the magnitude-6.9 earthquake in central China on April 13 that killed 2,700 and flooding in Pakistan from July to September, which killed 1,760 and had losses totaling $9.5 billion.

This article was provided by OurAmazingPlanet. Reach staff writer Brett Israel at bisrael@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.