Insured losses: $1 billion
Overall losses: $10 billion
The largest earthquake in the last 50 years was listed at a magnitude of 9.1, and killed 227,898 people from the earthquake and resulting tsunami, the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. 1.7 million people were displaced in 14 countries in Asia and East Africa with waves that reached up to 100 feet high.
The energy released during the earthquake was equal to approximately 1,500 Hiroshima atomic bombs, and although there was several hours of warning prior to the tsunami's arrival, there was no tsunami warning system or communication in place at the time. As a result the United Nations began creating the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.
Although this was easily one of the most significant disasters in human history, the economic cost did not reflect the human toll, mostly because the affected areas were not highly developed. Insured losses accounted for only about $1 billion in losses, while governments from around the world provided an estimated $14 billion to affected regions, including military and monetary assistance. In addition, the public donated considerably to the relief effort, with some countries contributing hundreds of millions from donations alone. However, there remained criticismthat an estimated $4 billion of pledged donations and aid never got to the area.