Natural disasters

Gruiz Katalin

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Definition of disasters

For a disaster to be entered into the database at least one of the following criteria must be fulfilled:

• Ten (10) or more people reported killed.
• Hundred (100) or more people reported affected.
• Declaration of a state of emergency.
• Call for international assistance.

EM-DAT data include the main following information (definition of disaster):

Disaster number: A unique disaster number for each event (8 digits: 4 digits for the year and 4 digits for the disaster number – i.e.: 19950324).
Country: Country(ies) in which the disaster has occurred.
Disaster group: Three groups of disasters are distinguished in EM-DAT: natural disasters, technological disasters and complex emergencies.
Disaster type: Description of the disaster according to a pre-defined classification.
Date: When the disaster occurred. The date is entered as follow: Month/Day/Year.
Killed: persons confirmed as dead and persons missing and presumed dead (official figures when available).
Injured: people suffering from physical injuries, trauma or an illness requiring medical treatment as a direct result of a disaster.
Homeless: people needing immediate assistance for shelter.
Affected: people requiring immediate assistance during a period of emergency; it can also include displaced or evacuated people.
STotal affected: sum of injured, homeless, and affected.
Estimated damage: veral institutions have developed methodologies to quantify these losses in their specific domain. However, there is no standard procedure to determine a global figure for economic impact. Estimated damage are given (000’) US$.

Groups of disasters:

Geophysical: Events originating from solid earth. These are: Earthquake, Volcano, Mass Movement (dry)

Meteorological: Events caused by short-lived/small to meso scale atmospheric processes (in the spectrum from minutes to days). Main type is storm.

Hydrological Events: caused by deviations in the normal water cycle and/or overflow of bodies of water caused by wind set-up. Main type: Flood, Mass Movement (wet)

Climatological Events: caused by long-lived/meso to macro scale processes (in the spectrum from intra-seasonal to multi-decadal climate variability). These are: Extreme Temperature, Drought, Wildfire

Biological Disaster: caused by the exposure of living organisms to germs and toxic substances, such as: Epidemic, Insect infestation, Animal Stampede