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The Annual International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) will be held on 13 Oct 2019 (Sunday) this year.
What is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction?
International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction began in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a specific day to develop a culture of disaster risk-awareness and disaster reduction globally. Held every year on 13 October, the day reinforces how people and communities globally are reducing their risks to and impacts from disasters, and raising awareness in reducing their individual risks.
The 2019 edition will focus on Target (d) of the Sendai Framework, reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.
To prepare ourselves for the upcoming IDDRR, let’s have a look at some statistics on disasters around the world published last year.
In 2018, there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses across the world.
Overview statistics on natural disasters occurrence around the world in 2018 (CRED)
The burden was not shared equally as Asia suffered the highest impact and accounted for 45% of disaster events, 80% of deaths, and 76% of people affected. Globally, Indonesia recorded nearly half the total deaths (47%), while India recorded the highest number of people affected (35%). Earthquakes were the deadliest type of disaster accounting for 45% of deaths, followed by flooding at 24%.
Number of deaths per disaster type 2018 (Graphic: UNISDR; Data source: CRED)
Flooding affected the highest number of people, accounting for 50% of the total affected, followed by storms which accounted for 28%. Given Asia’s large land mass, higher population relative to other continents, and multiple hazard risks, the results are not surprising.
Hong Kong, most notably, was hit by Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018. The typhoon broke many typhoon records in Hong Kong, and although luckily there were no deaths recorded in Hong Kong from the typhoon, it rose an alarm for gaps in disaster preparedness individually and within communities.
Let’s compare the disaster statistics of 2018 with the disaster trends from the past decade (1998 – 2017).
In the past 10 years, floods were also the most common type of disaster to happen, accounting for 43.4% of all disaster occurrences, followed by storms which accounted for 28%.
Number of disasters per type 1998 – 2017 (Source: CRED, UNISDR, 2018)
In the past decade, 56% disaster deaths were attributed to Earthquakes, most significant of which was the 2010 Haiti Earthquake and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Number of deaths per disaster type 1998 – 2017 (Source: CRED, UNISDR, 2018)
Flooding affected 2 billion people in the past decade, most significant of which was the North India Flood in 2013 that killed nearly 6000 people; second was drought, that affected 1.5 billion, some of the worst which happened in developed regions such as Australia and North America.
Number of people affected per disaster type 1998 - 2017 (Source: CRED, UNISDR, 2018)
However, Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir, head of CRED at UCLouvain, reminds us that there are a lot of invisible impacts of disasters that may not be accurately recorded in these statistics, particularly those of drought and extreme temperatures are notoriously poorly reported, especially from developing countries, probably due to lack of awareness and the ambiguous impacts. He emphasizes that “The human impact of these events, are difficult to quantify, but it needs to be done urgently, especially in order to report on specific SDG target indicators. Therefore, innovative approaches that measure progress in resilience and the adaptive capacity of communities needs to be addressed by appropriate UN agencies.”
To read more about Natural disasters in 2018, please read “Natural disaster 2018” published by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, or read the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters Crunch #54 – “Disasters 2018: Year in Review”.