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Water-related disasters include flood, windstorms, drought, water epidemics, famine and landslides. These combine with other water-related hazards such as pollution and chemical spills, aquifer depletion, land subsidence, salinisation of arable land, marine intrusions, sea and storm surges, coastal flooding and water-borne diseases to affect ecosystems and food and livelihood security
During 1960-2004 water-related disasters increased significantly. During 1996-2005, about 80 per cent of all natural disasters were of meteorological or hydrological origin
Water-related disasters resulted in an estimated loss of us $446 billion during 1992-2001, which is about 65 per cent of economic loss due to all natural disasters
The maximum number of drought maximum deaths happened in Ethiopia and Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But most people were impacted by droughts in China, India and Indonesia
Number of affected people since the start of the twenty-first century increased alarmingly. During 2000-2004, 1,942 water-related disasters claimed 427,045 lives and affected 1.5 billion people
This increase is attributed to an increase in reporting activities, population growth and increasing value of assets
Implementation of strategies laid down by international conventions were affected by issues related to ineffective organisational, legal and policy frameworks. Faulty risk identification, assessment, monitoring, inadequate knowledge management and education compounded matters
The report admits that risk and disaster statistics are still difficult to produce. There is no clear definition of people 'affected' by a disaster, where health, sanitary, social and economic dimensions are concerned
Other difficulties include a loss of institutional memory and limited access to data and information
Source Anon 2006, 'Water-a shared responsibility The United Nations World Water Development Report 2', UNESCO, Paris
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