JAPAN is still reeling from the earthquakeand tsunami that struck its north-east coast on March 11th, with the government struggling to contain a nuclear disaster and around 10,000 people still unaccounted for.
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.
By The Economist online, March 21, 2011