Here at Swiss Re we are shaken by the devastation caused yesterday by the massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Our thoughts are with the people who lost their loved ones, those who are still trapped in the rubble and or who are displaced. Our support goes also to those who are working hard to help and rescue.
After a relatively quiet April, storm activity has increased in the mid-West of the United States over the past few weeks. This includes yesterday's tornado. With early reports of more than 91 fatalities, this is becoming the deadliest US tornado since the even stronger tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri two years ago, claiming 158 lives (see page 23 of Sigma 2/2012 http://ow.ly/1WuKD4). Moore was hit by another EF-5 tornado on May 3, 1999, causing the loss of 44 lives. On average, we observe a tornado outbreak claiming 100 or more lives about once in 10 years. Losses from tornadoes and thunderstorms have shown a consistent upward trend in recent years. One reason is urbanisation in rural areas and increasing assets in areas exposed to natural hazards.
Our role is to help communities affected by events like this. Right now, this is about supporting those who have been hit worst by yesterday's storm. In the long run, we need to work together to build resilient communities and to prevent such tragedies from happening. I include a map from Swiss Re's CatNet showing the area affected by this week's tornado.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Floods/storms
Location: Oklahoma, United States