Does it sometimes feel as though there are more natural disasters occurring around the world rather than just more events being reported in the media?
Perhaps that vague feeling is more accurate than previously thought.
Since 1988 the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has been maintaining an Emergency Events Database EM-DAT. EM-DAT was created with the initial support of the WHO and the Belgian Government.
This database now has a number of graphs and maps of natural disaster trends including country profiles.
Australia rates in the highest number of instances category for drought (1976-1985), windstorm (1974-2003) and in the second highest for flood (1974-2003).
Click on graph to enlarge
Or another way of looking at similar data can be found at UNEP which gives more weight to improvements in information access affecting results.
Munich Re calculates the losses incurred due to severe weather-related natural disasters at an estimated US$ 1,600 billion since 1980. The Times reported at the end of 2009 that Natural catastrophes have left the world’s insurers with a claims bill totalling $22 billion (£13.7 billion) this year as the number of disasters linked to climate change increased markedly and insurers met $770 million in damages and repairs in Australia last year.
National Geographic natural disaster information including videos