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Emergencies in Latin America and The Caribbean Quarterly Overview October – December 2011 Year 2 - Volume No. 8

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When compared with the last decade, preliminary data for 2011 shows a decrease in the number of natural disasters and their impact in the Americas. However, the region endured intense disasters during the year. Parts of Brazil were severely flooded several times, causing more than 850 deaths and affecting almost 1.2 million people. In Colombia, floods affected more than 1.3 million people and 207 lives were lost (i). 2011 set a record in terms of economic losses caused by disasters. Global losses are estimated at US$350 billion, and in Latin America losses exceeded $22 billion.

The global death toll for 2011 from natural disasters is 30,000 people, while in Latin America and the Caribbean that number is approximately 2,000 (ii). The year’s most costly disaster, with approximately $210 billion in losses, was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the most costly disaster was Tropical Depression 12-E, with losses of almost $2 billion (iii).

In Colombia, nearly half of the country’s municipalities (500) were impacted by the second rainy season (1 September to 31 December). More than 964,000 people were affected and 180 died (iv).In August, Hurricane Irene caused blackouts, floods and 23 deaths in the United States after passing through Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. The hurricane directly affected more than 41,000 people (v).

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