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Adding up the cost Bad weather bill stretches over decades

In Switzerland, heavy rains carry a heavy price.


Bad weather has cost Switzerland billions of francs in damage since 1972, according to a federal report.

The study, reported by Swiss public television, RTS, comes on the heels of record levels of rainfall and flooding in several of the country’s cantons in recent weeks. Heavy rains and floods have hit Valais, Neuchâtel, Bern, Nidwalden and Obwalden, causing disruption to trains, road blockages and destruction that will need costly repairs.

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WLS) put the total cost of damage caused by bad weather in Switzerland since 1972 at CHF 13.7 billion ($14.7 billion).

According to the institute, the canton of Bern has historically been the most affected by bad weather, sustaining CHF 3.03 billion in damage over the past 40 years. The cantons of Ticino and Valais follow with CHF 1.88 million and 1.69 million, respectively.

The year 2005 was the worst for Switzerland in terms of havoc wreaked by weather: that year, three days’ worth of flooding in August alone cost  Switzerland CHF 2.5 billion in damage, and even resulted in seven deaths.

The data accounts for floods, mudslides, landslides and rock falls; destruction caused by avalanches, snow pressure, earthquakes, lightning, hail and storms were not included in the calculations.

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