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. Disasters killed 20,000 in 2007: study

by Staff Writers
Zurich (AFP) March 11, 2008
Natural and man-made disasters killed 20,000 people in 2007 and cost the world economy more than 70 billion dollars (45 billion euros), reinsurer Swiss Re said Tuesday.

The world was hit by 142 natural catastrophes and 192 man-made disasters in 2007, the company said in a report, with most deaths in Bangladesh, India, China and Pakistan as a result of heavy flooding and cyclones, the report said.

The statistics "confirm a trend towards an increase in the number -- and cost -- of natural catastrophes and man-made disasters," Swiss Re said.

Industrial fires, explosions and aviation and spacecraft losses topped the list of man-made disasters, which in total claimed 6,900 lives in 2007.

"Shipping and boating accidents as well as bombings and social unrest caused the most casualties," the report said.

Europe was unusually hard-hit by natural disasters in 2007, with insured property losses amounting to around 11 billion dollars after both winter storm Kyrill, which hit much of northern Europe, and summer flooding in Britain.

Total insured property losses amounted to more than 23 billion dollars.

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Major storm sparks travel chaos and damage in Britain, France
London (AFP) March 11, 2008
Heavy storms were expected to cause more travel chaos in Britain Tuesday, with France also preparing for more bad weather, after three vessels ran into problems in the Channel a day earlier.

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