It’s unstoppable: future flood-related disasters will be bigger and costlier even if coastal cities take measures to improve infrastructure, shows a new study by the journal Nature Climate Change.
The recent report shows that global flood losses may hit $52 billion by 2050 from socioeconomic changes alone, with a 15 percent to 20 percent damage increase due to rising sea levels and earth’s tectonic activity.
With no risk mitigation strategy, these costs may rise to more than $1 trillion annually by midcentury; however, improving standards of coastal protection and trying to decrease flooding may keep costs at about $60 billion.
Here is a list of top 10 global port cities that stand to suffer the most from sea level change by 2050, factoring in current GDP and level of disaster-readiness.
10. New Orleans, La. Average Annualized Loss (AAL): $1.86 billion, 18% increase from 2005
The Insurance Information Institute reported that Hurricane Katrina, which struck Louisiana in 2005, generated a record $41.1 billion in insurance losses—not including $16.1 billion in claims insured by the National Flood Insurance Program and millions more in insured damages to off-shore energy facilities.
9. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam AAL: $1.95 billion, 12% increase from 2005
In a briefing on Asian flood risks, Marsh & McLennan says, “In emerging markets [such as Vietnam], companies often choose to take the risk themselves rather than buying insurance in the first place, so the issue isn’t necessarily around flood insurance, it’s about insurance penetration.”
8. New York, N.Y.—Newark, N.J. AAL: $2.06 billion, 5% increase from 2005
Swiss Re estimates that in 2012, Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive destruction in the U.S. Northeast, caused $35 billion in insurance losses.
“As illustrated by the recent landfall of Sandy on the East Coast of the United States, there is a need to prepare at the local, national and international level for larger floods and the disasters that ensue,” says Nature Climate Change. 7. Tianjin, China AAL: $2.27 billion, 26% increase from 2005
Tianjin’s manufacturing industry, including an airline assembly factory, makes up the majority of the city’s economic output. Any deluge that hits this city nestled between the Hai, Yellow and Yangtze rivers would have drastic effects; thus, in May 2012 the city began a project that would increase Tianjin’s drainage capacity.
6. Miami, Fla. AAL: $2.55 billion, 21% increase from 2005