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Damaging Earthquakes Database 2011 – The Year in Review

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Introduction

2011 has played host to the largest two earthquakes, economically speaking, in the history of the countries of Japan and New Zealand. The M9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 11th March, 2011 proved to be the most expensive earthquake of all time, causing between $400‐700 billion USD in total losses and approximately 19000 deaths, while the Christchurch earthquake (a M6.3 quake close to the city of Christchurch) caused a huge building stock loss and approximately $15‐20 billion USD damage with around 80% insured losses. Their respective aftershocks caused further damage.
Significant losses were also seen in Turkey from the Van earthquake in October, in the India‐Nepal‐ Tibet region in September, in China from numerous earthquakes in the Yunnan and Xinjiang Provinces and in the USA from the Virginia earthquake.

In addition, in the first half of 2011, the news came out that the death toll in Haiti was overestimated significantly. A report from a US‐based consultancy group, LTL Strategies, as part of a USAID report, showed that the death toll was between 46190 and 84961. Daniell et al. (2010f, 2011j) using various approaches concluded that a death toll of 136933, with a range of 121843 to 167082 dead, was reasonable. Both of these totals are a massive reduction on the 316000 deaths quoted by the President on 12th January, 2011.