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3/18/2009

240,500 killed in disasters last year

The disaster death toll in 2008 WAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST IN DECADES. Cyclone Nargis and the Sichuan earthquake made last year one of the worst for disasters since 1970 - both in terms of lives lost and economic damage . Some 240,500 people lost their lives in natural and man-made disaster in 2008. Most died in Asia, where cyclone Nargis killed 138,000 people when it hit Myanmar last May. An earthquake in China's Sichuan province the same month claimed 70,000 lives, according to the report. More people died only in 1970 and 1976, with a tropical storm in the Bay of Bengal and a quake in China being the main killers in those two years respectively. The economic damage caused by disasters last year was put at $269 billion, with the earthquake in Sichuan accounting for almost half of this. Insured losses amounted to $52.5 billion, more than three-quarters of which occurred in the United States.
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