In their most recent outing, the Avengers protect Manhattan from complete devastation. But disaster experts claim that the damage would still set the city back more than Hurricane Katrina or even last year's Japanese tsunami.
Kinetic Analysis Corporation, a leading disaster cost prediction firm based in the US, undertook some modelling for The Hollywood Reporter. They calculated that the physical damage alone would cost between $US60 billion and $US70 billion, with economic and cleanup ramifications adding $US90 billion. Which gives a total of around $US160 billion, and that's to say nothing of the loss of lives. By way of comparison, Hurricane Katrina cost $US90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year $US122 billion.
While damaged buildings would be expensive to repair, the real effects lie underground. Damage caused to the Grand Central Terminal -- as in the film -- could, in theory, cause significant damage to sub-surface infrastructure such as gas, communications and electrical systems.
And who'd pay for it all? Probably not insurers, actually: it's likely -- though not certain -- that such an event would be classed as an act of God and therefore not covered. Better just add it to the national debt, then. [The Hollywood Reporter]