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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Theme: Natural disasters

Issue: Human vulnerability to extreme natural events
Indicators: Number of people killed by natural disasters

Number of people affected by natural disasters

The numbers of people killed and affected during disasters reflect both exposure to the physical threats and the capacity of individuals and communities to cope with those threats. Both of them are indicators of human vulnerability and
(in)ability to cope with these events.

Figure 7: Number of people killed (per million of population) by region and global, 1975–2002

Number of people killed

For the period 1986–2002, the average total number of reported deaths from natural disasters was approximately 46 000 per year for the world as a whole. Actual numbers vary considerably from one year to the next, and no clear trend is discernible (Figure 7).

Number of people affected

Over the same period, the number of people affected globally by natural disasters, including those injured and left homeless, has risen substantially (Figure 8). In 2002, this figure reportedly reached a total of 600 million.

Economic losses are estimated to have multiplied five times since the 1970s, to a total of US$629 billion for the 1990s (IFRC 2002), while it should be noted that many costs are unaccounted for, especially in developing countries.

Figure 8: Number of people affected (per million of population) by region and global, 1975–2002


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