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Hurricane Harvey: The worst storm to cost Texas USD 160 billion, toll climbs to 38

By PTI
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While the worst of the storm has cleared out of the Houston area, the disaster is expected to cost Texas an economic loss of around USD 160 billion, the disaster resulted in massive destruction, killing 38 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Tropical Storm Harvey broke all records for rainfall from a single storm in the continental United States, and its consequences are likely to be felt for years.

Image for representation only

If that estimate holds, it would make Harvey the world's 9th most expensive natural disaster since 1900, according to the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The damage is extensive at around $58 billion, and is over 90 percent due to flooding," said James Daniell, senior risk engineer at CEDIM, and head of its Forensic Disaster Analysis Group.

Other calculations of total economic loss have been considerably lower.

German insurance giant Hannover Re's initial figure for damages was USD 3 bn (2.5 bn euros), while JP Morgan estimated the insurance sector could be out $10-20 bn (8.4-16.8 bn euros).

Disaster risk specialists Enki Holdings, based in Savannah, Georgia, puts the total tab at above $30 bn (25 bn euros).

To measure the region's risk exposure, CEDIM used data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which tracks investment.

"But we also checked that against building and replacement cost data," Daniell said. "That's usually the issue with a lot of other models -- they don't get the exposure right."

Total capital stock in Texas is about $4.5 trillion, and for the entire United States the figure is about $56 trillion, he said.

Their estimates are based in part on the world's largest database of natural catastrophes, covering over 41,000 events since 1900.

As per the latest reports on Thursday, atleast 31 people have been killed in Harvey's wrath the number of dead would almost certainly soar as water levels across much of the Houston area start to recede.

PTI

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