Worst flooding Since 1998 Leaves US$33B Economic Toll in China

Much of China endured substantial seasonal "Mei-Yu" rainfall that led to a dramatic worsening of flooding along the Yangtze River Basin and in the country's northeast. Nearly 20 provincial regions were impacted by floods that have been ongoing in some areas since May.

Data from China's Ministry of Civil Affairs indicated that a combined 764 people were left dead or missing, and more than 800,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed.

Considerable damage to the agricultural sector was also prevalent with an estimated 18 million acres of cropland damaged by floodwater. Total combined economic losses were estimated at $33 billion, with at least $28 billion occurring in the Yangtze River Basin.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission cited insurance claims payouts representing less than two percent of the economic cost, with most of the claims from lost agriculture, according to Aon Benfield.

Adam Podlaha, Global Head of Impact Forecasting at Aon Benfield, said: "While it was expected that China would see above normal rainfall during the peak monsoon months with such a strong El Niño, the intensity and scope of what transpired from the associated floods were at a magnitude not seen in nearly two decades.

"The flood peril is one which is becoming better understood by catastrophe modelers, and the industry is better prepared than ever to help create awareness of the risks associated with such large events."

Monsoon rains also led to extensive flood damage elsewhere in Asia. More than 230 people were left dead or missing in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia and Afghanistan as tens of thousands of homes were destroyed.

Super Typhoon Nepartak claimed 82 lives as it made separate landfalls in Taiwan and China. Though not officially coming ashore, its outer bands lashed northern portions of the Philippines. The heaviest damage was noted in Taiwan and China, where at least 38,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Combined economic losses were at least $1.5 billion.

Tropical Storm Mirinae made separate landfalls in southern China and northern Vietnam, leaving at least five people dead or missing. The storm left more than 2,000 homes and 110,000 hectares (272,000 acres) of cropland damaged or destroyed. Total combined economic losses were listed at $20 million.