Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2015) Symposium on Disaster Resilience and Built Environment Education: Celebrating Project Successes: Book of Abstracts. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK. ISBN 978-1-862181-56-4

Among many communities in the EU and beyond, disasters pose significant concerns and
challenges. With growing population and infrastructures, the world’s exposure to disaster related
hazards is increasing. In addition to loss of life, disasters greatly hamper the social-economic
capacity of the member countries and also of the union as a whole. Swiss Re’s latest sigma report
(2014) highlights the 308 disaster events in 2013, of which 150 were natural catastrophes and 158
man-made. Almost 26,000 people lost their lives or went missing in the disasters. Europe suffered
the two most expensive natural disasters in insurance terms. The first was the massive flooding in
Central and Eastern Europe in May and June, after four days of heavy rain that caused large-scale
damage across Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. It led to $4.1 billion in paid
claims on $16.5 billion in economic losses. The second was the hailstorm that hit Germany and
France in late July, causing $3.8 billion in insurance payments on $4.8 billion in economic losses.
Most of those claims came from heavily populated areas of Germany. Altogether, Europe had
economic losses worth $33 billion for $15 billion in insurance payouts. For the first time in history
the world has experienced three consecutive years where annual economic losses have exceeded
$100 billion

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