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The 5 Most Expensive Natural Disasters in the World

Want to know which are the most expensive natural disasters in the world? Floods, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, heat waves, avalanches, lightning strikes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, blizzards… Mother Nature can strike humankind in a variety of forms, all of them very destructive in their own way. Some disasters are well-known for their ferocity, others for their death toll; like the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Most Expensive Natural Disasters in the World

The catastrophes on this list however are the costliest in history. In compiling this list we compared the different disasters’ estimated damages, adjusted to modern inflation rates. Nevertheless, despite the somberness of the list, the truth is that most of the time, nature gives us nothing but pleasure and life itself. And sadly, some natural disasters are the direct result of our own biological impact on the environment, and can’t be blamed solely on external factors.

Luckily, awareness on environmental issues is constantly growing, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Just take a look at some of the breathtaking water bodies on our list of The 15 Largest Bodies of Water in the World and you’ll appreciate what Earth has to offer and what we have to take care of.

Are you curious now about the most expensive natural disasters in the world? Let’s take a look at the countdown.

5. 1980 United States Heat Wave

Without a doubt, the most atypical natural disaster is a heat wave. Although it may sound virtually harmless, a heat wave (combined with a drought) is one of the most devastating weather disasters of all. In 1980, the Midwestern United States and the Southern Plains suffered one of the most expensive catastrophes in American history. Every day from June to September of that year, the temperature rose to 90°F. Moreover, the water supply was impaired, wind storms were frequently experienced, and agriculture was deeply damaged. All in all, the heat wave claimed 1,700 lives and cost $55 billion.

A similar, though even costlier disaster is next on the list of the most expensive natural disasters in the world. Keep reading to uncover the details.