EM-DAT data: Surge in natural disasters linked to population density

As per a recent study report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), an increase in people living in perilous conditions, poverty, environmental degradation and climate change have been rendering India vulnerable to intense disasters. These conditions that lead to precipitation extremes are giving a rise to water-related catastrophes.

As per EM-DAT data, India confronts the second most number of intense floods in the world after China, according to EM-DAT data. The study titled Climate-Related Disasters in Asia and the Pacific , shows an association between the rise in floods and storms and more precipitation and dryness linked to rising green house gases and temperatures.

The EM-DAT data shows Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam at exceptional risk.

Key findings of “Climate-Related Disasters in Asia and the Pacific” study:

  Population density is a key factor that drives hydro-meteorological natural disasters (floods, storms), both statistically and economically.

  • 1% increase in population density is associated with a 1.2% to 1.8% increase in the frequency of intense hydrometeorological disasters.
  • It implies that densely populated countries like India are more likely to incur over 100 deaths or have over 1,000 people affected when a storm or flood hits.
  • High population vulnerability and deterioration climate trends, related to natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, loom over the region’s economic success and affect its strategic importance in the global economy.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, the population continues to grow relative to the global total, and its economy helps drive global economic growth. Still, global manufacturing has moved to some very hazard-prone and ill-prepared areas. For eg: The Thailand floods of 2011 and their huge impact on the supply of computer hard drives and auto parts.
  • The poorer populations are more vulnerable to intense natural disasters.
  • Less poor economies — those with less than 30% of the population living below $1.25 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) a day — are less likely to experience a lower frequency of intense natural disasters than economies with higher poverty incidence.
What is Emergency Events Database EM-DAT?

Emergency Events Database EM-DAT is a global database on natural and technological disasters that contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of more than 17,000 disasters in the world from 1900 to present.  Since 1988, EM-DAT is maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)  at the School of Public Health of the Université catholique de Louvain located in Brussels, Belgium.

Objective of EM-DAT:

To assist humanitarian action at both national and international levels; to rationalize decision-making for disaster preparedness; and to provide an objective basis for vulnerability assessment and priority setting.



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