Worldwide natural disasters led to more than 22,000 fatalities in the year to June 2001, according to an insurance market report by Aon.

The overwhelming majority (92.6%) of deaths were caused by earthquakes, in particular the India earthquake in January.

Indian authorities have recently revised their initial estimate of the January earthquake's death toll from more than 20,000 to approximately 15,500.

It is suggested that there was some duplicate counting of individual deaths and some fraudulent compensation claims involving people who had died before the earthquake.

The remaining number of fatalities from natural disasters were accounted for by extreme weather (2%), land or mudslides (2.2%) and severe storms (1.5%). Avalanches, wildfires and volcanic activity also resulted in deaths.

The death toll from natural disasters in the months of May and June 2001 has been fairly low, according to the analysis by Aon.

Significant events during the period did, however, include a 4.9 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan, which led to four deaths, and torrential rain in the Congo capital of Kinshasa cost 50 lives.

The first tropical storm of the 2001 season – Allison – occurred in Texas and claimed 18 lives in Houston. Property damage from the storm is estimated at £700m.

However, a report from the US' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season to “have normal levels of activity, bringing fewer storms than the past three years”.

The NOAA said there were likely to be five to seven hurricanes during this year's season.