Despite having fewer natural disasters this year, the acute devastation of individual events pushed 2008 to No. 3 in the ranking of the most expensive disaster years on record, according to a report by Munich Re Group.
This year sits behind only 2005 ($232 billion), with its record number of Atlantic hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, and 1995, the year of the earthquake in Kobe, Japan. (Munich Re's figures are adjusted for inflation.)
Tropical cyclones and an earthquake in China caused billions in human and financial losses in 2008. The quake left millions homeless, injured hundreds of thousands and killed at least 70,000 people. I
n the United States, Hurricane Ike, which struck Galveston, Texas, in September, caused $30 billion in damages along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Gustav caused $10 billion in damages in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
There were also 1,700 tornadoes in the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage.
Source: Live Science, 2008 a Devastating Year for Natural Disasters