Dead... naturally!

Published: Saturday 30 November 1996

In the last two decades, the number of persons affected by disasters increased at the rate of six per cent per year, which corresponds to three times the annual population growth. There were nearly 600 natural catastrophes in 1995 which claimed about 20,000 lives, displaced millions and resulted in total financial losses of around US $180 billion (the figures for 1994 were 580 disasters, 10,000 deaths and loss of $65 billion). Out of the $180 billion, the Kobe earthquake alone caused a loss of US $96 billion. At the beginning of the century, less than one in three large earthquakes caused casualties. This number has gradually risen throughout this century, and in the '90s, two earthquakes in every three have been killers. With rapid growth of urban areas, it becomes necessary to ensure that urban communities suffer the least from the avoidable and unavoidable disasters that will strike them in the future.Making a green mark Although some areas are more vulnerable, no region on earth is hundred per cent safe from the threat of a sudden natural disaster. More attention is, therefore, needed for long-term planning to mitigate disasters.

Temblor trauma
Off all natural disaster in 1995,the Kobe quake was the biggest killer
Place Magnitude*   Date Dead
Japan 7.2 January 5,502
Colombia 6.5 Febeuary     34
Colombia 5.1 March      8
Russian Fed 7.5 May 1,825
Greece  6.1 June     26
Chile  7.8 July      3
China 6.4 October     20
Turkey 6.1 October   101
Indonesia   7 October    84
Mexico 6.8 October    40
*On the Richter scaleOn the Richter scale

Gone with the wind
The year 1995 was the second worst hurricane season ever recorded
Place Disaster Date Dead
Bahmas Hurricane Erin August    0
Cuba Hurricane Erin August    0
Caribbean Hurricane Luis September    5
Caribbean Hurricane Marylin September    0
Philippines Storm Sybil October   35
Philippines Topical Storm Zack October 88
Philippines Typhoon Angela+floods October 722
Philippines Typhoon Zack November 253
Bangladesh Cyclone November    0
Bangladesh Cyclone November    0 
                                Watery graves
Among all the natural disasters,floods by far take the largest number of human lives
Place Disaster Date Dead Place Disaster   Date Dead
India Avalanches January    63 Pakistan Monsoon rains   July   451
Botswana    Floods March    20 Morocco    Floods August   230
Afghanistan Landslides March   350 Korea North    Floods August    70
Bangladesh    Storms April   119 Korea South    Floods August    36
Indonesia    Floods May    51 Philippines    Floods September    48
Ethiopia    Floods May    27 Myanmar    Floods September    51
Bangladesh    Floods June    66 Vietnam    Floods September    85
Nepal Landslides June    85 Thailand    Floods October   231
China    Floods July 1,179 Turkey    Floods November    62
Ghana    Floods July    40 South Africa    Floods December   161

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