Canada sustained hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in May this year, after severe weather tore through western and eastern parts of the country.
Benfield’s recently released “Global Catastrophe Recap” said the prolonged periods of rainfall in southern portions of British Columbia throughout April left several rivers flowing well above normal for that time of year. Further heavy rainfall on May 05 led to several of these rivers overflowing, with at least two people killed and hundreds evacuated as flooding impacted the southern interior region. Significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture was reported. “Thousands” of structures were damaged and economic loss reached tens of millions of US dollars.
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Several rivers in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes overflowed early May following a wet April in Eastern Canada. Two people were killed in Quebec and nearly 2,000 residents there were evacuated. Portions of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia also experienced significant flooding.
“Among the worst affected communities was Ottawa-Gatineau where both the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers burst their banks,” the report said. “More than 5,200 homes were damaged.” The report estimated that damages reached “hundreds of millions” of US dollars over the May 05-20 period.
Towards the end of last month, a powerful low pressure system brought strong winds and flooding to southern portions of British Columbia before tracking into Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Numerous trees were downed and significant property damage was reported in all three provinces. Almost 200,000 customers were without power at the storm’s peak,” the report noted. Flooding was reported along portions of the British Columbia coast and in the Okanagan region.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada
(IBC) recently reported that water damage has surpassed fire as the leading cause of home insurance payouts. Data from IBC suggests that since 2009, Canadian insurers have been paying out an average of $400 million annually for damages related to severe weather events – most of which involve flooding. By comparison, during the previous 25 years before 2009, weather events cost the industry an average of $100 million a year.
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