Disaster Stats That Ruined My Day

One of the things I dread about the fall season is that it is also disaster season. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes – they all seem to take place during fall or early spring.

The good news is that the European Commission’s disaster policy consortium MICRODIS, organized an Asian Symposium on Disaster Impact and Assessment in Asia conference. Disaster relief workers representing 13 countries met in Hue City, Vietnam on August 25th to discuss ways to improve disaster impact and relief operations in the region.

The bad new is that philanthropy can’t seem to get its act together and coordinate a response platform for donors and NGOs in the region. Those in the field are always scrambling for information to provide donors. There is no one stop source to get a listing of how much corporations or foundations have contributed. More important, there is not a place filled with useful data that encourages private philanthropy to fund disaster prevention programs. I think it is time we thought about an Asia Disaster Network for donors.

Below are some quick stats:

* In 2009, Asia accounted for six of the top ten disasters in the world.

* Seven out of ten most earthquake-vulnerable countries in terms of human exposure are in Asia: China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

* From 2000 to 2009, Asia accounted for 85 percent of all disaster-related fatalities.

* Four of the ten most recent and deadliest quake occurred in Indonesia.

227,898 people died when a 9.1 earthquake shook Sumatra, Indonesia, on 26 December 2004. A subsequent tsunami spread the impact of the earthquake to 14 Asian and East African countries and 1.7 million people.

Three months later another quake, measuring 8.6, killed 1,000 people on 28 March 2005 in Northern Sumatra.

5,749 people died in a 6.3 earthquake on 27 May 2006 in Java. It was Indonesia’s third major disaster in less than two years.

1,117 people died on 30 September 2009 in Southern Sumatra after a 7.5 earthquake exposed the area’s lack of resilient structures.

* Two of the ten most recent and deadliest quake occurred in China.

87,587 people died or went missing after an earthquake measuring 7.9 struck Eastern Sichuan on 12 May 2008. Five million were left homeless and 374,177 were injured.

2,698 people died or went missing on 13 April 2010 after a 6.9 earthquake hit Qinghai. The biggest quake in world history happened in Shaanxi, where 830,000 people died after an 8.0 earthquake on 1 January 1556.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons, DFID – UK Department for International Development