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The Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters in Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium maintains the largest and most authentic time series global data base of natural disasters. This database shows some definite trends:

Increase in disaster events

The database for the period since 1900 shows a sharp increase in disasters particularly during the recent decades. While much of the increase is due to better reporting of disaster events, particularly from the developing countries, increasing exposure of growing number of vulnerable people and assets to the hazards of nature is the main factor responsible for the rising disaster trend. Population growth particularly in urban areas and climate change are expected to contribute to this trend in the coming decades.

Hydro-meteorological outnumber other disasters

Hydro-meteorological disasters far outnumber geological and biological disasters and account for more than 76 percent of the total natural disaster events and 48 per cent of total disaster deaths. These include hydrological events such as floods and droughts, meteorological events such as cyclones, hurricanes and droughts and extreme climatological events such heat and cold wave etc.

Most disaster deaths take place in developing countries

92 percent of disaster deaths took place in developing countries, mainly because of exposure of highly vulnerable population to multiple hazards of nature. More than 80 percent of disaster deaths during last 20 years occurred in only 20 mega disasters with over 10,000 deaths each, most of them being geological disasters like earthquakes and tsunami.

Economic damages more in developed countries

During the last 40 years total damages due to disasters were estimated US$ 1087 billion, of which US$ 485 billion were in developed countries. Developing countries accounted for more than 75 per cent of disasters events, 92 per cent of disaster deaths, but 55 per cent of the economic losses due to disasters. But overall macroeconomic impact of disasters on developing countries was assessed 13.4 per cent of the GDP of the developing countries, compared to less than 0..5 per cent in developed countries

Asia most disaster Prone continent

Asia was by far the most disaster prone continent, accounting for per cent of disaster events, per cent of disaster deaths and per cent of economic damages.

Number of disaster events Percentage share of people killed and affected Mean annual number of victims per one million people

South Asia most disaster prone region

South Asia remained the most disaster prone region in Asia-Pacific. The following table compiled on the basis of EM-DAT data for the last forty years (1970-2009) would indicate:


Thirty Years of Natural Disasters 1974-2003: The numbers, CRED
EM-DAT – The International Disaster Database
World Disaster Report 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2010
South Asia Disaster Report 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

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