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Mother Nature's Bill In May In Billions

CHICAGO (UPI) — Reinsurance firm Aon Benfield said earthquakes in Italy topped May’s list for monetary losses from natural events, but rains in China killed more people.

Two earthquakes in a nine-day period killed 25 people and injured 400 others. Including aftershocks, the events also caused extensive damage to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

The cost of the events is estimated at $6.25 billion, but the total has yet to be determined said Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, which published the findings.

“The Italian earthquakes resulted in the largest natural disaster loss for the country since the L’Aquila earthquake event in 2009,” Jakubowski said.

“It is anticipated that insured losses would reach minimally into the hundreds of millions of dollars. However, it remains too early to determine how negligible re-insurance losses may be from this event,” he said.

The second most costly event of the month involved prolonged rain in China that affected 22 provinces and killed at least 102 people, the reinsurance firm said.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs in China reported 143,000 homes were damaged by the rains with 2.3 million acres of croplands affected.

In Japan, three people were killed and 59 injured by high winds and tornadoes in the month with damage to 1,845 buildings, the firm said.

Two severe weather events were costly in the United States, although neither of them included tropical storm Beryl, which hit Florida with winds of 70 mph.

Damage from Beryl was not extensive, the firm said. However, hail and wind caused about $275 million in damage from the Dakotas to Maryland in May — with more than 30,000 insurance claims filed.

A second weather event near the end of the month caused severe damage in the center and eastern United States with $400 million worth of damage reported in Oklahoma alone, the firm said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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