(CBS News) Extreme weather that has hit the United States comes with a hefty price tag: $1.15 trillion in the last 30 years, a trend that is likely to continue without better preparation at the state and local level, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official said Wednesday.
The official, DHS’s assistant secretary for policy David Heyman, was testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on extreme weather events. In an unplanned irony, his remarks came as a massive snowstorm was barreling up the East Coast.
Responding to extreme weather is an expensive prospect: in 2011, 14 different natural catastrophes exceeded a billion dollars each and there were 98 presidentially declared disasters, a record number. Heyman cited Munich Re, the world’s largest risk insurer, when he said that the total economic losses sustained in the U.S. in the past 30 years totaled $1.15 trillion.
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