Winter Storms 47 (1988-95) (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1080)
44 1995-2004 (10 year average), NWS 2005, 14
1C. Annual Losses Per Hazard Are Large: Cold:.7 million -- in 2004 (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hazstats.shtml#)
Drought:1.2 million -- in 2004 (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hazstats.shtml#)
Earthquakes: Annualized US earthquake losses average $4.4 billion. (FEMA 2001b, 1)
Eco-Terrorism: ~ $25 million (Sauter and Carafano 2005, 128)
Fire (Structural) -- losses annually average about $10 billion. (FEMA/USFA 1998, 2)
Flooding: About $9 Billion.
Annual US flood losses about $6 billion (Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus 2001 (Jan 22), 3)1 -- up from average of $5.2 billion 1989 to 1998 (FEMA 2001, 1, citing NWS).
From FY 1992-FY 1999, 20 major flooding disasterscaused over $97 billion in damages.” (GAO 2001, 1; cited FEMA) --averages $12 B per year, 9 year period.
Fog: $1.6 million -- in 2004 (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hazstats.shtml#)
Hail: Annual mean current U.S. losses due to Hail -- $2.3 billion. (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1080)
Hurricanes: Annual US Hurricane losses averaged $5.4 billion between 1989 and 1998. (FEMA 2001b, 1; citing The National Climatic Data Center)
Landslides: $1-2 billion in damages…on average each year. (Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus Workgroup. 2001 (Jan 22), 3) $1-3 billion annually (National Research Council 2004.)
Lightning: Annual mean current (1941-81) U.S. losses – greater than $1 billion. (Kunkel, et al. 1999, 1080) $4-$5 billion.” (National Lightning Safety Institute 2004)
Pipeline Breaches: “…from 1986 to 1999 releases from pipelines caused, on average 23 fatalities, 113 injuries, and $68 million in damage per year.” (Sauter & Carafano 2005, 158)
Tornadoes: Annual mean current (1991-1994) losses -- $2.9 billion. (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1080)
Wildfires: The U.S. government spends annually between “at least $1.5 billion” and $2 billion on fighting wildfires. This is not wildfire damage, but suppression cost.2 Wind:$3.65 billion -- in 2004 (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hazstats.shtml#)
Winter Storms: Annual mean current U.S. losses greater than $1 B. (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1080)
The above totals about $47.6 billion per year and does not include heatwaves, hazardous materials accidents and releases, train derailments, air crashes, or wildfire damages).
Examples: Hail: “Hail as large as three inches in diameter pummeled the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, area as a series of severe windstorms produced tornadoes and thunderstorms across 10 states in April 2003….The storms caused estimated total insured losses of more than $1 billion.” (IBHS 2003 Annual Report)
Wildfire: In October and early November 2003, in San Diego and San Bernardino Counties, California, alone, wildfires resulted “in more than $2 billion in insured property losses.” (IBHS 2003 Annual Report – “Making a Difference, Coast to Coast”)
Winter Storms: “Unusually severe winter weather struck portions of 15 states in 2003, causing more than $1 billion in insured property damage.” (IBHS 2003 Annual Report)
Tornadoes: “In May 2003, more than 400 tornadoes ripped through 18 states and left a bill of $1.55 billion in insured property losses.” (IBHS 2003 Annual Report)
According to the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in cooperation with the Atmospheric Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society, in their 2001 "Extreme Weather Sourcebook" an encyclopedic compilation of statistics regarding "Economic and Other Societal Impacts Related to Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Lightning, and Other U.S. Weather Phenomena," Florida easily led all other states with annual losses of $1.67 billion between 1955 and 1999. Annual national losses were $11.4 billion (in 1999 dollars). (National Center for Atmospheric Research 2001)
The statistics above are, according to FEMA, “extremely conservative” anddo “not cover damage and losses to critical facilities, transportation and utility lifelines or indirect economic loss.” (FEMA 2001, 1)
1D. Federal Costs Are Large
"Federal disaster assistance costs billions of dollars annually.
According to data compiled for the Senate Task Force, federal agencies obligated about $119.7 billion (in constant 1993 dollars) for disaster assistance during fiscal years 1977 through 1993, the majority of which was for post-disaster assistance. FEMA accounted for about 22 percent of this amount." (GAO 1998, 1)
1E. FEMA Costs Are Large (But Just The Tip of The Iceberg):
“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has spent more than $25 billion in repairs and rebuilding over the past ten years.” (Taylor 2001, 84)
"$24 billion -- FEMA dollars paid out in declared disasters over the past decade." (FEMA 365. Nov 2000. P. 5-12)
"Since 1993, FEMA has spent more than $20 billion in over 5000 counties on disaster recovery. Growing costs are due in large part to the fact that more development stands in harm's way than ever before." (FEMA 2000, 7)
-- Does not reflect the rest of the Federal government, State and local governments, insurance industry, business and industries, individuals.
1F. Insured Losses Are Large and Most Losses Are Not Insured: Writing in 1999, Harvey Ryland, President of the Institute for Business and Home
Safety, notes that despite the IDNDR and its focus on prevention and mitigation, that
"…losses continue to rise. Since 1989, the United States alone has suffered at least US$ 90 billion in insured damage (not including disaster payments from governments or the costs property owners must absorb themselves, and has seen more than 23,000 people injured and at least 2,000 more killed….Obviously, we still have a long way to go." (Ryland 1999, 260)
“Insurance data…also provide a measure of national economic losses.
The normalized…data show a trend of increasing losses.
Prior to the late 1970s annual losses were on the order of a few hundred million dollars (U.S. Congress 1995).
During the 1980s, losses had increased to the $0.5-$2.5 billion range. Then, in 1989, losses increased dramatically. Annual insured losses from 1989-97 were as follows:
$3.1 billion… There has been a clear change in impacts on the insurance industry.” (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1080)
"$9.3 billion--Flood Insurance claims paid out since 1969." (FEMA 365, Nov 2000, pp. 5-12)
1G. Additional Material: The U.S. has averaged losses of $500 million a week due to disasters the last ten years. (Witt, 2001)
[Witt’s estimate would total to $25 billion per year, or $250B for the decade.]
“Over the past 20 years, the US has sustained 44 weather-related disasters in which damages and costs exceeded $1 billion each.” (Armstrong 2000, 53)
POINT 2. THE U.S. IS BECOMING MORE VULNERABLE -- Slide 5 Slide 6 – U.S. Is Becoming More Vulnerable 2A. Indicators of Increased Vulnerability Housing: 75% of US housing stock is susceptible to natural hazards:
10 million homes at risk from flooding
25 million homes at risk from wind hazards
2 million homes at risk from coastal storm surges
50 million homes in counties with significant earthquake risk. (Wagoner 2000, SM I-10, citing FEMA)
Agro-terrorism: “…an outbreak here [of foot and mouth disease] could result in 7.5 million livestock being destroyed and an economic hit ranging from $10.4 billion to $33.6 billion.” (Price Waterhouse Cooper Accounting Firm, in Godfree-Thom, May 2005, 26)
Earthquakes: “While seismic hazard in the United States has remained fairly constant over the years, seismic risk has been increasing substantially because of the increase of urban development in seismic hazard areas and the vulnerability of older buildings, some of which were not built to adequate seismic code.” (FEMA2001,2)
“Ninety percent of the U.S. population lives in seismically active areas. Some 5,000 quakes can be felt in the United States each year – 400 capable of causing structural damage. More than 6 million people live in the San Francisco Bay area, home to at least 10 active faults.” (ISO 1998, 5)
A 7.5 magnitude quake on the Puente Hills fault, Los Angeles, could “kill up to 18,000 people” and result in $250 billion in economic losses. (Los Angeles Times May 26, 2005)
Hurricanes: "In 1970, 31 percent of Americans lived in areas subject to hurricane winds,
19 percent faced severe earthquake risk, and
22 percent lived in counties with high landslide risk.
By 1990, more than 50 percent of all Americans lived in coastal regions, and populations at risk to earthquakes and landslides had increased dramatically as well.
In Florida alone, over 80 percent of the State's population lives within 10 miles of the coast." (FEMA 2000b, 7)
“The example of Florida is a striking one. The number of people living in the counties along the sea-shore, on this low lying peninsula, has risen from 0.5 million to nine million in the past six decades. The value of property at risk has risen by a larger degree.” (Bruce 1999, 30)
"In the past fifty years…Florida's population rose fivefold; 80 percent of this burgeoning population lives within twenty miles of the coast. The great Miami hurricane of 1926 made landfall over a small, relatively poor community and caused about $76 million worth of damage (in inflation-adjusted dollars). Today a storm of similar magnitude would strike a sprawling, affluent metropolitan area of two million people, and could cause more than $80 billion worth of damage." (Sarewitz and Pielke 2000)
Florida's "rate of growth--25% in the last decade versos a national growth rate of 13.2%…" (FEMA Region IV, 2001, 4)
"…the state of Florida represents more than US$ 900 billion at risk."
(Ryland 1999, 260, citing the Insurance Information Institute, 1999)
Wildfires: “No forested community is immune from a wildfire disaster. Lightning strikes and droughts will continue to occur (if not increase), campfires will get out of control, fuel will continue to accumulate, and more and more people will move into forests and the paths of forest fires. Is it not time we started looking at why we spend more money putting out fires and paying for lost homes than we do preventing these disasters?” (Disaster Prevention and Management 2001, 120)
2B. Though There Are Hotspots, This Is A National Phenomenon
"No part of the country is free from natural hazards, whether they be hurricanes in North Carolina, earthquakes in California, flooding in Missouri, tornadoes in Oklahoma, wildfires in Montana, landslides in Alaska, or ice storms in New York. As the…[FEMA] map of presidential disaster declarations shows, all states are vulnerable." (Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus Workgroup, 2001 (Jan 22), 3)
“Most measures of the economic impacts of weather and climate extremes over the past several decades reveal increasing losses. But trends in most related weather and climate extremes do not show comparable increases with time. This suggests that increasing losses are primarily due to increasing vulnerability arising from a variety of societal changes, including a growing population in higher risk coastal area and large cities, more property subject to damage, and lifestyle and demographic changes subjecting lives and property to greater exposure.” (Kunkel, et al. 1999, 1077)
"We are becoming more vulnerable to natural hazards because we continue to build where we want and the way we want to and just attribute natural disasters to nature or acts of God." (Mileti, 2001)
"Changes in who we are as a nation foretell greater risk to natural hazards -- income disparity has been increasing for at least a dozen years. We are becoming more a nation of the rich and the poor as opposed to a growing middle class. Middle class white guys are now a minority. We are becoming a more diverse nation, and it is the poor and ethnic minorities who are impacted the most, who suffer the most, when disaster strikes. Much of what we do in the name of natural disaster reduction won't -- it only postpones them." (Mileti, 2001) "We have only shifted vulnerability. We have shifted it from wealthy areas
to poorer area; from this generation to future generations." (Dennis Mileti, Remarks on "The Second Assessment: Implications for Disaster Public Education" at the FEMA Community and Family Preparedness National Conference, June 8, 1999.
“The final factor affecting our increased vulnerability is simple human neglect.” (IDNDR, 1999. “Where Do We Go From Here.”)
POINT 3. DISASTER LOSSES HAVE BEEN GOING UP -- Slide 8 "Natural disaster costs in this country are still sky-rocketing -- and nobody cares." (Mileti, 2001)
3.A. -- Going Up In the U.S.A. Slide 9 -- Disaster Costs Are Going Up Points:
“In the past 10 years, 460 major disasters have been declared by the President, nearly double the declarations for the previous 10-year period.” (Armstrong 2000, 53)
“Comparing the 3-year periods from 1989 to 1991 and 1997 to 1999, the federal costs of severe weather disasters rose by 337%.” (Armstrong 2000, 53)
“The Red Cross disaster fund shows a similar trend [to FEMA disaster fund trend]. (Kunkel et al. 1999, 1081, citing U.S. Congress 1995)
"441 -- Federally declared disasters in the last ten years…an increase of 56% from the decade before." (FEMA 365, Nov 2000, p. 5-12)
"Each decade, property damage has doubled or tripled in terms of constant dollars." (Natural Hazards Caucus 2001a, 1)
"Today in the United States, we spend tens of billions of dollars each year to rebuild communities after natural disasters. And the frequency and severity of these disasters is growing." (FEMA-365, p. 5-11) "For fiscal years 1984 through 1988, the average number of such declarations was 26 per year, whereas, for the periods from fiscal years 1989 through 1993 and from fiscal years 1994 through 1997, the average number was nearly 42 and 49 per year, respectively." (GAO 1998, 5)
"The costs of natural disasters are rising in the United States despite our unprecedented scientific understanding of the nature of natural hazards, new technology and tools for protecting lives and property, and an unparalleled ability to forecast and warn the population.")Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus Work Group 2001 (Jan 22), 2)
"Ironically, it was during a decade dedicated to reducing the loss from natural disaster (1990-99), that we have seen some of the worst losses of human life and largest economic losses in living memory." (Wisner 2001b, 1)
3B. World-Wide Trend: "The combined cost of disasters world wide, according to the Center for Epidemiology of Disaster in Belgium, was U.S.$ 741 billion (thousand million) between 1990-99. Human lives lost during this period were 589,000, and the number of deaths has climbed each year since 1994." (Wisner 2001b, 1)
"Over the past four decades, the frequency of natural catastrophes has tripled, inflation-adjusted economic losses have multiplied by a factor of nine and insurance losses have multiplied by a factor of fifteen." (Berz 1999, 12)
POINT 4. DISASTER LOSSES PROJECTED TO BECOME EVEN WORSE--Slide 10 "We have every reason to believe that our citizens are going to face even bigger disasters in the future." (Witt, 2001)
“In our lifetime, probably within two decades, Americans will see one or two catastrophic events that will be beyond our comprehension.” (Tolbert 2001)
4A. Larger Individual Disaster Event Losses -- Slide 11 Blackouts: Rusk Management Solutions (2004) estimates a Northeast Blackout could run up to $17 billion in direct economic losses. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks)
Cyber Attack: Risk Management Solutions (2004) estimates that cyber attacks have already cost US companies billions and a single event has the potential to cost billions. Earthquakes:
"…experts predict that multi-billion dollar mega-disasters are looming on the horizon. According to the US Insurance Information Institute, if an earthquake with an 8.3 magnitude hit San Francisco, as it did in 1906, losses could reach US$ 225 billion." (Ryland 1999, 260)
"It is estimated that a repeat of a major earthquake like the 1906 or 1964 Alaska ones could cause up to $500 billion in damage to a heavily populated area." (Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus Workgroup, 2001 (Jan 22), 3)
"…if a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit on the Newport-Inglewood fault in the Los Angeles basin, it could cause $80 billion in losses…" (EPN, 13 March 2001, 56)
Risk Management Solutions (2004) estimated in a scenario for a Los Angeles 7.0 quake (big, but not The Big One), direct economic losses of $100 billion and upwards of 400 deaths. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks)
Flooding: Risk Management Solutions estimates that today’s losses if the 1927 MississippiFlood were to repeat, would be $28 billion. (Today’s Ten Greatest Risks, 2004)
Hurricanes: "…based on PartnerRe's hurricane model, an insured market loss for the US East Coast runs at US$ 42 billion with a return period of 100 years." (Adler 1999, 252)
“Another storm of Camille’s intensity [Cat.5] will strike the United States the only question is when. When this future storm strikes, it will make landfall over conditions drastically different from those in 1969. The hurricane-prone regions of the United States have developed dramatically as people have moved to the coast and the nation’s wealth has grown. Estimates of potential losses from a single hurricane approach $100 billion.” (NSTC 1996, 3)
“Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 skirted New Orleans on three sides, fortunately looping around the community and thus not putting its levees and other protective structures to a test. However, if the levees and dikes had broken during that storm, as many as 100,000 people could have drowned.” (Leatherman and Burkett, 2002)
Industrial Accidents: Risk Management Solutions (2004) estimated direct economic losses from a not improbable large-scale industrial accident in Houston at $17-22 billion, with upwards of 600 deaths. (Today’s Greatest 10 Risks)
Oil Spills: Risk Management Solutions estimated in 2004 that losses from an oil spill in the Washington’s Puget Sound could be $18 billion in direct losses. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks 2004)
Pandemics: Risk Management Solutions (2004) in a not improbable (1% probability) scenario of a future flu pandemic, estimated upwards of 200,000 deaths. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks)
Risk Management Solutions (2004) estimated that another 9/11 terrorist attack, for example at the Federal Center Plaza in Chicago, could easily run to $24 billion in direct economic losses and 5000 dead. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks)
Wildfires: Risk Management Solutions (2004) estimated an Oakland hills, CA wildfire would run up to $8.7 billion. (Today’s 10 Greatest Risks)
Adverse National Trends: “Future prospects are sobering. Continued U.S. population growth, increased urbanization and concentration in hazard-prone coastal areas, increased capital and physical plant, accelerated deterioration of the urban infrastructure, and emerging but unknown new vulnerabilities posed by technological advance virtually guarantee that economic losses from natural hazards will continue to rise throughout the early part of the coming century. Losses of $100 billion from individual events, and perhaps unprecedented loss of life, loom in our future.” (NSTC 1996, 3)
"The next President must be ready to contend with myriad disasters carrying price tags of $10B and perhaps one or more in the $100B range." (Natural Hazards Caucus 2001a, 2)
“While weather forecasters are predicting more frequent and more severe weather calamities in the coming years, there are also other forces that will lead to escalating costs.
First is the location of development. A comprehensive report on coastal erosion recently released by FEMA (The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, 2000; http://www.fema.gov/nwz00/erosion.htm) indicates that the density of development in several high risk coastal study areas increased by more than 60% over the last 20 years.
Second is the ineffectiveness of some local hazard regulations. While the International Code Council has established a universal building code standard for application throughout the United States (http://www.intlcode.org), many areas have not passed ordinances in support of this standard and, those communities that have passed the code do not always enforce it. Third, is the failure to utilize the economic forces that promote smart local development and growth. The very tools that could promote risk reduction in the long run instead, are too often vehicles for short-term and short-sighted economic gain. We see this in communities that rush to issue permits before the publication of new maps that show that the area to be built in is vulnerable to an increased or changed flood hazard. Many times, a community will raise ‘pseudo’-technical concerns about the proposed map with the object of postponing the publication date to extend the time they have for issuing permits that facilitate unwise development. Often, the Representative or Senator of an affected area is asked for help in delaying the revisions.” (Armstrong 2000, 53)
4B. Hazards, Incidence Rates and Intensities Projected to Increase
"Multiple environmental, ecological, and socio-political forces are converging to increase the occurrence of both natural and technological disasters." (Kenneth Kizer, President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Quality Forum. 2000. 209)
4C. Total Losses Project To Get Larger – Slide 12 – Disaster Losses Graph
"We don't really know what the natural hazards problem is -- we really can't say, for example, what our annual disaster losses are, since no two Federal agencies count the same things the same way. What we can say is that things are getting worse -- and will continue to get worse no matter what we do next." (Mileti, 2001)
From Our Common Journey -- A Transition Toward Sustainability, National Research Council, Board on Sustainable Development:
"Based on our analysis of persistent trends and transitions, the Board concludes that certain current trends of population and habitation, wealth and consumption, technology and work, connectedness and diversity, and environmental change are likely to persist well into the coming century and could significantly undermine the prospects for sustainability. If they do persist, many human needs will not be met, life support systems will be dangerously degraded, and the numbers of hungry and poor will increase." (NRC 1999, 101)
POINT 5 -- DISASTERS IMPACT DIFFERENTIALLY – Slide 13
5A. Some Are More Vulnerable, More At Risk, and Less Resilient – Slide 14
"The unequal distribution of the hazard impact causes a proportion of the population to experience major loss, while most of the rest of the community was less inconvenienced. Very often it is the most socio-economically (and sometimes politically) disadvantaged that settle in the areas at most hazard risk." (Berry and King 1999, 96)
In answer to the question "why are the poor still the most vulnerable" to disasters, Luis Duran answers that "nature is not to blame" but that "disasters are caused by weaknesses and factors present before and during the disaster that are still present today with no end in sight." (Duran 1999, 16-17)
"Studies have shown that in general it is the weaker groups in society that suffer worst from disasters: the poor (especially), the very young and the very old, women, the disabled, and those who are marginalized by race or caste." (Twigg 2001, 2)
"The factors affecting vulnerability vary considerably among populations, with the poor having the fewest options and limited resources to cope. The poor often occupy marginal or unstable lands, or inhabit sub-standard structures. Also, hospitals and schools often suffer disproportionate damage from natural disasters despite their fundamental importance to the well being of a society." (Hamilton 1999, 305)
Whittier CA Earthquake example:
"It took your average middle-class well-educated white guy 7 weeks to get back into permanent housing. It took the average single woman of color with children 7 years." (Mileti 2001)
5B. Social Sciences Offer More of an Explanation than Natural Sciences — Slide 15
"To understand what makes people vulnerable, we have to move away from the hazard itself to look at a much wider, and a much more diverse, set of influences: the whole range of economic, social, cultural, institutional, political and even psychological factors that shape people's lives and create the environment that they live in….vulnerability is socially constructed." (Twigg, John (Benfield Greg Hazard Research Centre, University College London). 2001, 2)
"To the extent that most natural disasters are indeed social in origin, it also follows, as experts agree, that their burden falls disproportionately on those already most economically disadvantaged, both on an international level…and domestically. The poor within each society are forced to live in substandard structures on more dangerous land, and have fewer resources to lessen their own risk and vulnerability." (Hooke 1999, 283)
When the impact of a disaster falls disproportionately across a community, it is frequently the case that the explanations of this phenomena lie not in the hazard event itself but in social, economic, cultural and political factors.
"Morality demands that we move to restore to human life some equity in the ability to adapt to hazards." (Alexander 2000, 188)