Human Cost of Disasters

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Human Cost of Disasters

Application: GS Paper- 2

Why Human Cost of Disasters was in news?

  • In a new report “The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019”.
  • The United Nations pointed out that climate change is largely to blame for a near doubling of natural disasters in the past 20 years.
  • The report is published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The report did not touch on biological hazards and disease-related disasters like the coronavirus pandemic.
  • International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is observed on 13th October every year.

What are the highlights of the report?

  • 7,348 major disaster events had occurred between 2000 and 2019.
  • Affecting 4.2 billion people and costing the global economy some USD 2.97 trillion.
  • The figure is far more than the 4,212 major natural disasters recorded between 1980 and 1999.
  • 6,681 climate-linked disasters had been recorded in the period 2000-19, up from 3,656 during the previous 20-year-period.
  • Climate-related disasters include disasters categorized as meteorological, climatological, or hydrological.
  • There had also been an increase in geophysical events like earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • That are not related to climate but are particularly deadly.
  • Major floods had more than doubled to 3,254, there had been 2,034 major storms up from 1,457 in 20 years.
  • India is the 2nd most affected country by floods after China.
  • Extreme heat is proving especially deadly. Heat waves of 2015 in India resulted in 2,248 deaths.
  • The deadliest single disaster in the past 20 years was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
  • With 2,26,400 deaths, followed by the Haiti earthquake in 2010, which claimed some 2,22,000 lives.
  • The data showed that Asia has suffered the highest number of disasters in the past 20 years.
  • With 3,068 such events, followed by the Americas with 1,756 and Africa with 1,192.
  • In terms of affected countries, China topped the list with 577 events followed by the United States with 467 and India (321 events).
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

The UNDRR was established in 1999 as a dedicated secretariat to facilitate the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
It is mandated to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities.It is an organizational unit of the UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG).UNDRR’s Strategic Framework 2016-2021 has a vision to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses for a sustainable future with the mandate to act as the custodian of the Sendai Framework (India is a signatory).
Sendai Framework The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
The Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.  

Way Forward

  • The concentrated impact due to a single disaster.
  • In some countries provides an opportunity for a more focused approach on disaster risk reduction.
  • However, Covid-19 demonstrates the need for a systemic, multi hazard approach in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.
  • There is a requirement for strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk.
  • With clear vision, competence, plans, guidelines, funding and coordination across sectors and in a manner.
  • Which takes account of the increasingly systemic nature of disaster risk.
  • Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction.
  • Through structural and non-structural measures needs to be stepped up to create disaster resilient societies.



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