A scandal in the storm

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

All disasters, natural or human-made, have one thing in common; their capacity to maim, cause unmentionable misery, and loss of property and lives. But there is a twist in the tale. The World Disaster Report, 1994, published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Socities, suggests that the havoc can be controlled. Often, it is the improper dissemination or censorship of information by the powers-that-be which exacerbates the suffering of the people.

Wrack and ruin
Number of disasters triggered by natural causes, by region and type, 1993
  Africa America Asia Europe Oceania Total
Drought &
Famine
0 0 1 0 0 1
Volcano 0 0 4 0 0 4
High Wind 4 17 23 8 6 58
Landslide 0 4 6 0 0 10
Flood 4 19 25 8 1 57
Earthquake 1 5 7 1 3 17
Other* 2 1 4 4 0 11
The price of vulnerability
Estimation of the costs of damage caused by natural disasters, 1988-92 (in $ million)
Earthquake 67,034
Drought & Famine 11,342
Flood 8,674
Landslide 29.9
High Wind 49,316
Volcano 83.3
Other* 1,109
  * includes: cold wave, heat wave, insect infestation, tsunami

Counting calamities
Number of disasters due to non-natural causes, by region and type, 1993
  Africa America Asia Europe Oceania Total
Accident 3 3 16 10 0 32
Industrial
accident
0 1 2 0 0 3
Fire 0 2 5 3 0 10
Conflict 1 0 1 2 0 4
Catastrophe economics
Estimation of losses incurred due to non-natural disasters, 1988-92
(in $ million)
Accident 2,449
Industrial accident 474
Fire 712
Displaced people 2
Conflict 2,188

When calamities sweep the earth
Today, some 250 million people are affected in an ever-mounting spiral of disasters
Year Number of disaster affected people
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
11,047,904
28,981,406
5,680,571
47,485,048
40,445,109
14,137,334
227,121,061
43,471,600
42,632,028
271,135
25,755,722
109,335,442
220,783,204
94,115,471
33,756,865
272,759,375
292,955,799
99,489,539
43,913,036
42,789,783
376,879,839
220,764,909
192,276,076
124,148,628
319,227,321
90,321,014
175,093,174
Source: World Disaster Report, 1994

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