14 October 2010

Some statistics on disasters worldwide

Posted by Dave Petley

 Yesterday was the annual United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction, which this year had a strong urban theme.  To highlight the event, which has been somewhat overshadowed by the extraordinary rescue of the Chilean miners, UNISDR put out a press release highlighting the costs of disasters worldwide.  The statistics are somewhat sobering:

  • So far in 2010 more than 236,000 people have been killed in disasters
  • 256 million people have been affected by disaster events, mostly in urban areas
  • The cost of disasters in the first nine months of this year is US$81 billion.  Most losses are uninsured

With regard to the vulnerability of urban areas:

  • More than a billion people live in urban slums
  • An estimated 3,351 cities are situated in coastal zones that are potentially vulnerable to sea level rise
  • Six of the ten largest cities are in seismically active areas

To mark the day, Xinhua released statistics on disaster impacts in China this year to date:

  • Floods, landslides and mudslides have killed 3,313 people so far this year
  • 15.7 million people have had to relocate
  • Economic losses are estimated to be a staggering US$55.4 billion