The earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster in Japan is likely to be the most expensive disaster since disaster estimates began in 1965. Over recent decades disasters have generally had a decreasing death toll, but an increasing economic cost. The Sendai earthquake follows these trends. The Economist reports:
Provisional estimates released today by the World Bank put the economic damage resulting from the disaster at as much as $235 billion, around 4% of GDP. That figure would make this disaster the costliest since comparable records began in 1965. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which caused some 250,000 deaths, does not feature on this chart. Economic losses there amounted to only $14 billion in today’s prices, partly because of low property and land values in the affected areas.