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GEO Year Book 2004/5  
UNEP Website GEO Home Page

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

Figure 8: Number of people killed (per million of population) by region and global, 1975–2004

No data: West Asia 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1999.

Source: GEO Data Portal, compiled from OFDA/CRED EM-DAT 2004

For 2003, the reported number of deaths from natural disasters reached almost 80 000, considerably more than the estimated yearly average of 65 000 measured over the last 30 years. The fatalities in 2003 are mainly attributed to earthquakes such as the one in Bam, Iran, and the heat waves that occurred in Europe. For the year 2004, the reported fatalities amounted to 12 000 by October. The figure for the whole of 2004 will need to be completed and revised dramatically in the light of more recent events, most notably the unprecedented tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean on 26 December. As of mid-January 2005, the death toll reportedly exceeded 220 000. The data on the number of people killed due to natural hazards in 2004 will be included in the next issue of the GEO Year Book series.

The figures here relate to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, extreme temperatures, insect infestations, floods, landslides, wave/surges, wild fires and wind storms (Figure 8). On average, since 1975 for the world as a whole, 31 per cent of reported fatalities are related to droughts, 30 per cent to earthquakes, 16 per cent to wind storms and 10 per cent to floods. Different hazards affect different parts of the world. In Africa, droughts are by far the predominant disaster type (95 per cent of reported fatalities), in Europe, West Asia, and Asia and the Pacific earthquakes predominate (56, 49 and 43 per cent respectively), in Latin America floods (32 per cent) and in North America wind storms cause most fatalities (64 per cent) (OFDA/CRED EM-DAT 2004).

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