Statistics of natural disasters. Trends

Since 1988, the WHO Collaborating Centres (World Health Organization) Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) supported the work of an international database on disasters (EM-DAT). EM-DAT was created with initial support from the WHO and the Belgian Government.

The main purpose of the database is to assist in humanitarian efforts of national and global scale. This is a project aimed at streamlining decision to prepare for disasters and catastrophes, as well as providing an independent basis for vulnerability assessment and prioritization.

EM-DAT contains the basic core data on more than 18 thousands of accidents and their consequences, occurred from 1900 to the current date. The base is formed by data from a variety of sources, such as UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, insurance companies, research institutes and the media.

Aid agencies and development have long recognized the importance of data and information to reduce the impact of disasters on vulnerable populations. The systematic collection and analysis of such data provides invaluable information to governments and organizations in charge of public assistance and reconstruction activities. This information also helps strengthen the aspect of health care in programs to reduce poverty.

However, on the face of the lack of cross-national consistency in relation to best practices of information gathering. In addition to the difficulty in obtaining reliable data, there are differences in definitions, methods, means and sources.

I CRED rich experience of a standardized data collection, validation and analysis. The center provides free and open access to data on its website. One of the results of core analysis data is CRED EM-DAT — The International Disaster Database.

EM-DAT provides the basis for a fair assessment of vulnerability and rational decision-making in cases of emergency. For example, it helps policy makers determine what types of disasters are most typical for a given country and have had a significant historical impact on specific nations.

In addition to providing data on the human factors of disasters, such as the number of dead and injured, EM-DAT provides an estimate of economic damage and international donations.


— What is EM-DAT?

— EM-DAT — a global database of natural and man-made disasters, which contains the basic core data on more than 18 thousand accidents worldwide since 1900 to present. EM-DAT is supported by the Research Centre for the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) School of Public Health (Brussels, Belgium).

— What is the purpose of EM-DAT?

— General-purpose EM-DAT — promoting humanitarian action, both national and international scale, rationalization decisions in preparing for disasters and catastrophes and provide an independent basis for vulnerability assessment and prioritization.

— What criteria evaluates the EM-DAT disaster?

EM-DAT given includes all accidents from 1900 to the current date, which correspond to at least one of the following criteria:

  • 10 or more victims;
  • 100 or more victims;
  • The official state of emergency declaration;
  • Appeal for international assistance.

— What kind of information is included in the EM-DAT?

— EM-DAT contains geographical, temporal? Th, the human and economic data on accidents at the country level. More information included in the database, and data processing methods are in the section "Comments" (with annotations).

— What information is collected?

— The base is based on various sources, such as UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, insurance companies, research institutes and the media. Priority is given to data from UN agencies, governments and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. All data are regularly reviewed for inconsistencies and incompleteness of exaggeration. CRED summarizes and publishes every day. The next check is carried out in a month. At the end of each calendar year, the overall audit is conducted.


Translation: Anastasia Antoshkina
Source: EM-DAT: The OFDA /CRED International Disaster Database — — Universite catholique de Louvain — Brussels — Belgium


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