World's Costliest Natural Disasters

The price tag of 2008's earthquake in China? $147B
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2011 4:59 PM CDT
World's Costliest Natural Disasters
People try to find their property among the debris of collapsed buildings in Sichuan Province, on Monday, May 12, 2008. The 7.8 earthquake cost $147 billion.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Chen Xie)

Japan's devastating earthquake has pushed natural disasters back into the headlines again, and the Telegraph runs down the most costly in history:

  • Earthquake in Sichuan, China, 2008: The 7.8-magnitude temblor killed more than 70,000 and left 11 million homeless. Cost: $147 billion.
  • Earthquake in Kobe, Japan, 1995: The city of Kobe alone lost 4,600 of the 6,434 people who died. Cost: $144 billion.

  • Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, 2005: The storm devastated the Big Easy, and killed 1,800. Cost: $137 billion.
  • Earthquake in Irpinia, Italy, 1980: Almost 3,000 died in the quake that devastated a vast area. Cost: $52 billion.
  • Earthquake in California, 1994: The Santa Monica freeway was shut down for three months. Cost: $43 billion.
Click for the rest of the list. (More natural disaster stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.