Japan’s economic losses from disasters were world’s third-biggest in last decade


Japan economic losses from disasters in the 10 years through 2014 were the world’s third-largest, following the United States and China, according to a list of the most disaster-affected countries released Friday by the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The number of disasters Japan experienced was 62, placing it ninth among the 10 countries listed, but the damage was the third-largest, at $239 billion. This compares with the second-largest loss of $265 billion in China, the most frequently hit country, with 286 calamities.

Japan’s figure was significantly increased by the magnitude-9 Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, which also caused a massive tsunami.

The United States posted the largest loss, $443 billion, caused by 212 events.

Other Asian countries also ranked high in the number of disasters. The Philippines saw 181 disasters, the third-biggest, causing $16 billion in damage. India was fourth with 167 disasters, costing it $47 billion. Indonesia ranked fifth with 141 disasters, losing $11 billion.

“Despite many successes and greatly improved performance in disaster management, it is sobering to note that 700,000 people have died in disaster events,” Margareta Wahlstrom, the head of the U.N. office, said in a statement. “A total of 1.7 billion people have had their lives disrupted in some way.”

Economic losses in major reported disaster events came to $1.4 trillion, according to Wahlstrom.

The data were unveiled ahead of the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, which will open March 14.