Saturday, July 3, 2010

Worldwide Disaster Numbers

In 2009, there were 335 notable natural disasters reported around the world. Those events were responsible for 10,655 deaths, and impacted the lives of 119 million others who survived but suffered consequences of the catastrophes. On the economic side, the financial toll was more than $41.3 billion, if measured in U.S. dollars.

These numbers were released in a report called the Annual Disaster Statistical Review, compiled by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. The study goes on to reveal how some parts of the world get more than their fair share of misery, while others are less impacted. Out of 111 countries that were hit by some sort of natural disaster, 18 of them accrued 75% of the death-toll and economic damage.

So, what were the disaster hot spots around the world? There are two ways to tally the numbers. First, let's look at the top 10 countries listed by the number of events.
  • Philippines — 25
  • China — 24
  • USA — 16
  • India — 15
  • Indonesia — 12
  • Brazil — 9
  • Mexico — 7
  • Australia — 6
  • Bangladesh — 6
  • Viet Nam — 6
But that tells only half the story. The other way to tally the numbers is by the death-toll. The top 10 countries by mortality were:
  • India — 1,806
  • Indonesia — 1,407
  • Philippines — 1,334
  • Taiwan — 630
  • China — 591
  • Australia — 535
  • Peru — 419
  • Viet Nam — 356
  • Italy — 335
  • El Salvador — 275
Floods were the most common events, and accounted for 53.7% of the natural disasters counted. Next were storms, making up 25.4%. And geophysical events such as earthquake or volcano comprised 2.7% of the natural disasters. 

Keep in mind that this list was compiled for 2009, before the catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti and Chili, and the winter storms that buried the U.S. east coast early in 2010. According the the numbers already accrued for this year, 2010 is turning out to be above average for natural disaster casualties. 

Do I need to remind anyone to get prepared to survive in the event that food outlets, water supply, fuel, electricity, hospitals, and other services are rendered unavailable?

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