Table Mountain wildfire, floods and 'severe weather' cost SA billions in 2021

Date: Jan 27, 2022

The Table Mountain wildfire, flooding and severe weather events led to $175 million in economic losses to South Africa in 2021, a report by insurance group AON shows.

These events were among the "global disasters" listed in multinational AON's 2021 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight report, published this week.

The report shows that there were 401 natural disaster events globally in 2021. These events include tropical cyclones, flooding and wildfires. "Approximately 10 500 people lost their lives due to global natural catastrophe events in 2021," the report read.

Economic losses racked up to $343 billion. The most economic losses were recorded in 2011, at $615 million. Insured losses in 2021 amounted to $130 billion. Insurance covered 38% of global economic losses. A natural disaster, according to AON, must meet at least any of the following criteria, economic losses of $50 million, insured losses of $25 million 10 fatalities, 50 injuries and home and structures damaged or filed claims amounting to 2 000.

"These kinds of catastrophes are increasing in frequency and severity impacting livelihoods, communities, and businesses across the globe," the report read. AON highlighted that the influence of climate change in natural disasters is evident in the tropical cyclones, and extreme rainfall and temperatures.

It must be noted that News24 previously reported arson is suspected to have been the cause of the wild fire which started on Table Mountain and spread to the University of Cape Town and other historic landmarks.

The AON report, however, flags the Table Mountain fire as part of its global catastrophe review. While there were no fatalities, the report notes that economic losses from the fire were over $100 million. AON also lists flooding in northern parts of the country earlier in 2021 as part of its global disasters 31 fatalities resulted. At the time tropical cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique and this had led to heavy rainfall in parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

The economic losses from the flooding is estimated at $75 million, according to AON.

AON also noted "severe weather events" in December but did not elaborate on what these were however they led to 10 fatalities and economic losses running into "millions."



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