A wildfire survivor reveals the key to disaster comeback

Global disaster costs more than double to $136bn

Natural and man made disasters caused $136bn of insured losses in 2017, the third highest on record, according to new estimates from Swiss Re. The reinsurance group said on Wednesday that the 2017 total would be more than double the 2016 figure and well above the 10-year average of $58bn. Many of this year’s losses have come from the Americas, where insurers have been hit with claims from hurricanes in the Caribbean and southern US, earthquakes in Mexico, and wildfires in California, some of which are still burning. The US and Caribbean hurricane season was particularly expensive this year. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused $93bn of insured losses, the highest figure since hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma led to almost $112bn of insured losses in 2005. Kurt Karl, Swiss Re’s chief economist, said: “There has been a significant rise in the number of residents and new homes in coastal communities since Katrina…


A wildfire survivor reveals the key to disaster comeback


Sandra Millers Younger was recently contacted by a Northern California woman she had never met to thank her.

“Your book may have saved my sister’s life,” noted the stranger.

That message was one of the unforeseen benefits of Younger having lost virtually everything in the epic East County Cedar Fire of 2003.

She eventually published a book examining that fire from various perspectives. It included her harrowing escape from Wildcat Canyon in Lakeside, along its single cliff-hugging road invisible in a fog of smoke.

She credits a bobcat with saving their lives when it jumped in front of the car carrying Sandra, her husband, Bob, two huge Newfoundland dogs and a cockatiel.

Reasoning that the bobcat might be following the road, they trailed it. Unlike 12 of their neighbors, some of whom died trying to flee, they made it safely out…


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