May 2012: Global catastrophe recap - Impact forecasting

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- Earthquakes in Northern Italy leave at least 25 people dead and cause extensive damage.

-Severe weather and flooding in China triggers more than USD3.1 billion in economic losses.

- Tropical Storm Beryl makes landfall in Florida; minimal damage recorded.

Two potent earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks struck Northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region within a nine-day stretch, killing a combined 25 people, injuring more than 400 others and causing extensive damage. Both tremors (the first a magnitude-6.0; the second a magnitude-5.8) had an epicenter just to the north-northwest of the city of Bologna. Significant damage occurred in the provinces of Modena, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Rovigo and Mantua, with tremendous impacts felt at more than 100 culturally historic buildings that were several centuries old. Additional damage struck personal property, the agricultural industry, the biomedical industry and other economically significant businesses in the region. Initial combined economic losses were estimated at EUR5 billion (USD6.25 billion). Italian officials note that it remains too early to provide an insured loss estimate with any degree of confidence.

In severe weather and flooding news, China sustained flooding rains and strong thunderstorms throughout the month. One particular stretch of inclement weather impacted at least 22 provinces and killed at least 102 people. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), at least 143,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in addition to 949,400 hectares (2.34 million acres) of cropland. Total economic losses from the event were listed at CNY16.88 billion (USD2.68 billion).

In the United States, two notable stretches of severe weather impacted central and eastern sections of the country. One notable stretch occurred early in the month, as widespread hail and wind damage impacted an area from the Dakotas to Maryland. Total economic losses were estimated at approximately USD275 million, while various insurers recorded more than 30,000 claims with payouts in excess of USD150 million. The second notable stretch at the end of the month caused upwards of USD400 million in insured losses in Oklahoma alone, according to the Southwestern Insurance Information Service.