Environment Counts | Disasters – A global data base
Whether from natural causes (eg earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, flooding, droughts) or caused by human and technological activity (eg nuclear events, major oil spills, deforestation) disasters can have major impacts on the environment. This article introduces EC readers to the most extensive and authoritative global disaster database. More than 18,000 mass disasters since 1900 to the present are documented. The database is searchable and readers can create tables with cross tabulations by a range of relevant variables. The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies. EM-DAT is maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED cred.be ) at the School of Public Health of the UniversitÃ© catholique de Louvain located in Brussels, Belgium.
Disasters, both natural and those caused by humans, have had and will continue to have major impacts on the environment globally, regionally and at local levels. Every new disaster, whether natural or human caused or complex attracts considerable public interest and attention and is described, profiled, and analysed countless times in the global media. Depending on the magnitude and nature of the disaster it may become the subject of impact analyses (environmental, technological and other). Disaster lists and top ten disaster lists appear to accompany commentary on each new disaster.
This article provides an introduction to the most extensive and authoritative global database of disasters; the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT). EM-DAT was created in 1988 (and continuously maintained since then) under an initiative of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Since inception the initiative has been supported by the Belgian Government, and the operational locus has been at the UniversitÃ© catholique de Louvain located in Brussels, Belgium.
The EM-DAT database includes record of some 18,000 disasters. The disasters are classified and searchable by disaster types, categories, countries, global regions and impacts (people killed, population affected and cost or economic impact, though not by other environmental impacts). The results of database searches (including cross classifications) can be downloaded as Excel tables. Raw data is available upon direct request from CRED. The database covers disasters from 1900 to the present and is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies.
No attempt is made here to summarize the disaster data. However, and simply to give an indication of the magnitude of some of the Worldâ€™s largest disasters, the following four examples have been downloaded directly from EM-DAT (and were current in the database at 8 December, 2012).
â€¢Top ten volcanic disasters by population directly affected
â€¢Top ten storm disasters by population directly affected
â€¢Top ten climatological disasters by population directly affected
â€¢Top ten industrial disasters by population directly affected
The EM-DATÂ database
EM-DAT is organized for presentation around its Access Database.
The Access Database consists of six components which provide the reader with a range of data for viewing and for research. In addition to the data presented and the facility for the reader to perform queries and cross tabulations, the raw data is available on request to CRED. The six components are:
- Country profiles given by natural and technological disasters.
- Disasters profiles given by natural and technological and groups of disasters.
- Disasters list
- Advanced search: allow users to generate datasheets based on the overall EM-DAT records.
Following is a summary of each of these components, with a link provided by placing the cursor on the icon.
Country profile â€“ disasters by countryÂ
Basic selection by two categories for each country; natural disasters and technological disasters. The resulting database is summarised by several types of impacts by disaster (number of people killed and total number affected). The results can be downloaded in Excel tables.
Disaster profiles â€“ summary of disaster eventsÂ
This provides a â€œpre-designedâ€ summary and profile of disaster events from 1900 to current, as well as lists of largest disasters by various categories for each of natural, group and technological disasters. Each category is detailed by the same disaster sub categories as listed advanced search (above). All categories, lists and events can be downloaded for in Excel tables.
Disaster list â€“ generate list of eventsÂ
This permits users to generate lists of events by region, country, time frame and disaster group and type. Raw data may be made available to users on request.
Advanced search â€“ create your own databaseÂ
Basic selection of disasters: region; country; period/decade; year; disaster group (natural, biological, climatological, complex, geophysical, hydrological, meteorological, technological); and disaster type (complex, drought, earthquake, epidemic, storm, volcano, wildfire, etc.). These categories are used to create a customized database search which yields detailed results based on the search.
Reference maps â€“ pre-made mapsÂ
Maps are provided covering the period 1974 to 2010 of disaster events and impacts.
Disaster trends â€“ pre-made graphsÂ
This section provides pre-made graphs and other material displaying trends and some relationships among disaster categories.
Citation. The above information and links are provided courtesy of: EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database â€“ â€“ UniversitÃ© Catholique de Louvain â€“ Brussels â€“ Belgium.
Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT)
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)