Facts and Figures
A decade of disasters
Source for data: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Belgium. Data refer to disasters with a natural or technological trigger, but do not cover conflicts or disease.
In 2003, 76,806 were reported killed by disasters 3 times higher than the 2002 figure. Disasters affected 255 million people during the year, inflicting estimated damage of at least US$ 56 billion.
From 1994 to 2003, 5,677 reported disasters killed 673,070 people and affected 2.58 billion people, causing US$ 691 billion in estimated damage. This compares to 1,021,605 reported killed and 1.63 billion reported affected by disasters from 1984 to 1993.
Deadliest disasters (1994-2003): Drought/famine (48%), Floods (16%), Earthquakes (16%), Windstorms (10%), Extreme temperatures (8%), Other (2%).
Over the decade, 51 people died per natural disaster in countries of high human development (as defined by UNDP), compared to 589 deaths per natural disaster in countries of low human development.
The role of donors
Official development assistance (ODA) from OECD donors grew to US$ 58.3 billion in 2002 a gross increase of 11.3% compared to 2001.
Expressed as a percentage of donor countries' gross national income (GNI), only five countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) exceeded the UNs 0.7% target for ODA.
Global humanitarian assistance (as opposed to ODA) totals at least $10 billion a year (DFID)
Heatwaves: hidden disaster
22,000-35,000 people died due to Europe's heatwave. (World Health Organization, Earth Policy Institute)
14,800 people died in France. Death rates in Paris rose 130% above average. Those over 75 years accounted for 70% of deaths. (France's National Institute for Public Health Surveillance)
Heatwaves kill 1,500 Americans a year. The combined toll in the US from windstorms, earthquakes and floods is less than 200 (Eric Klinenberg, The Guardian, 20 August 2002)
In Australia, heatwaves caused more deaths than any other natural hazard during the 20th century. (Emergency Management Australia, Heatwave Action Guide, www.ema.gov.au)
Resilience in rural India
From 1994-2003, 'natural' and technological disasters claimed 68,671 Indian lives and affected 68 million people annually. (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Belgium)
4,000-5,000 farmers in Andhra Pradesh have committed suicide in the last 6 years. (P. Chengala Reddy, honorary chairperson, Andhra Pradesh's Federation of Farmers Associations)
Gujarat's earthquake destroyed 350,000 houses and damaged 900,000. Rebuilding a seismically safer house costs US$ 1,000 (Sustainable Environmental and Ecological Development Society, India)
Following 2001's Gujarat earthquake, 9,800 slum-dwelling families in Bhuj city invested US$ 290,000 of their own money into improving homes and livelihoods (Disaster Mitigation Institute, Ahmedabad, India)
Bam earthquake sends warning
The Bam earthquake (Richter 6.5) killed between 30,000 and 40,000 people, injured 30,000 and destroyed 85 percent of the city's buildings, leaving 75,000 people homeless. (International Federation)
None of Bam's mosques, new or old, collapsed. (Iranian Red Crescent Society)
34 international search and rescue teams from 27 countries found 22 people alive. Local Iranian Red Crescent rescue teams saved 157 lives. A 6-day search and rescue mission from Europe (5 dogs) costs US$ 50,000. The same money provides a 2-year training programme for 3 Iranian dogs & handlers. (Iranian Red Crescent Society)
Since 1909, 143,000-178,000 Iranians have died in 19 major quakes (United States Geological Survey)
If an earthquake similar in magnitude to Bam's were to strike Tehran, it would kill over 700,000 people. (Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics, Tehran University)
Preparing communities in the Philippines
From 1971 to 2000, nearly 300 'natural' disasters killed around 34,000 Filipinos. (United Nations Environment Programme)
From 1990 to 2000, 35 million people were severely affected by natural disasters. Typhoons accounted for 85 percent of those affected. (Philippines National Red Cross)
On average, the Philippines experiences one typhoon per month during the storm season. (Philippine Government's Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, 1999)
AIDS in southern Africa
In 2003, AIDS claimed over 3 million victims worldwide, of whom 2.2-2.4 million died in sub-Saharan Africa. The region is home to 12.3 million AIDS orphans. (UNAIDS)
Almost 40% of Swazi adults are infected with HIV. (UNAIDS)
Life expectancy: Malawi, 38; Zimbabwe, 34; Zambia, under 33. (Human Development Report, UNDP)
Women are infected at twice the rate of men, yet they form 70% of the agricultural labour force. Where HIV prevalence is highest, projections foresee that life expectancy will drop below 20 years by 2020. (International Federation)
Surviving in the slums
Worldwide, over 2.2 million people a year die from water & sanitation-related diseases. Child mortality in urban slums is 10 to 20 times higher than in cities with adequate sanitation. Over the next 20 yrs, 90% of population growth in developing countries will be urban. (UN-HABITAT)
60% of Mumbai's 23 million inhabitants occupy 6% of its area averaging 2,000 people per hectare. In some slums, 50 families share a single toilet. (Jennifer Rowell, Mainstreaming Risk Management in the Slums of Mumbai, 2002)
Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi, Pakistan, helped the urban poor build a low-cost sewer system. In 10 years, infant mortality fell from 130 to 37 per 1,000 live births. (UN-HABITAT)
Posted October 28, 2004