News / Americas

2010 Deadliest Year for Disasters in Two Decades

2010 Deadliest Year for Disasters in Two Decades
2010 Deadliest Year for Disasters in Two Decades

A new U.N. report says the earthquake in Haiti and heat waves in Russia made 2010 one of the deadliest years in at least two decades.  The report issued by the Belgium-based Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters finds nearly 300,000 people lost their lives in more than 370 natural disasters last year.

The report notes most of the deaths last year resulted from the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which killed nearly one-quarter of a million people.  The second deadliest disaster occurred in Russia where a heat wave in the summer of 2010 caused about 56,000 fatalities in the capital, Moscow.

The report says natural disasters, which affected more than 200 million people resulted in economic losses of nearly $110 billion.  Most of these losses occurred in wealthy countries where expensive buildings and infrastructure were destroyed and damaged.  

Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters Director Debarati Guha-Sapir says for the first time last year, the Americas headed the list of the world’s worst-affected continents.

“The largest share of the pie is from the Americas, north and south America.  Essentially again this is due to Haiti, but it is also due to Chile," said Guha-Sapir. "The Americas generally do not top the list of people dying from natural disasters, but here in this year they do ...  Europe remains second in the share of the pie, largely because of heat waves.  Heat waves has been one of the most important contributor to deaths in Europe, keeping it always at a very high rank.”  

The Report says Asia experienced fewer disaster deaths than the Americas and Europe in 2010.  Nevertheless it remains the highest affected continent, with nearly 90 percent of all people affected by disasters living in Asia.

Among the list of top 10 disasters with the highest death counts, five occurred in Asia.  The report notes an earthquake, landslides and floods hit China, massive floods devastated Pakistan, and Indonesia was struck by a powerful earthquake.

Guha-Sapir says the largest economic losses often do not correspond with the largest loss of lives.  She notes Haiti, where an earthquake last January killed more than 220,000, suffered losses of about $8 billion.  

In comparison, she says the costliest event in 2010 was the Chilean earthquake, which killed 562 people and caused $30 billion in disaster damage.  

“And, that is because of the fact that lives are not insured.  That is where most of the economic losses data comes from insurance.  So, lives are not insured, property is not insured and 225,000 people dead in Haiti essentially counts for nothing," stated Guha-Sapir. "We do not take into account  the fact that mothers have died, people who earn the living of the family have died, that does not enter the economic loss estimates.”  

U.N. officials say countries must take preventive measures now.  Otherwise, they warn more disasters due to unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation will occur in the future.

The officials say weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future, due to factors that include climate change.  They urge governments to incorporate climate change adaptation in their urban planning.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Ambassador Calls for LGBT Rights

John Berry spoke at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne
More

China's Xi Praises Close Ties with Cuba

Head of China's Communist Party hails common socialist bond between his country and Cuba as he kicks off a state visit in Havana
More

US Judge Orders Argentina, Creditors to Reach Deal

Lawyers for investors who declined to restructure bonds after country defaulted on about $100B in 2002 warned that time running out to reach a deal, avert fresh default
More

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, says outside pressure needed on Venezuelan president to move case forward
More

Sex Workers Seek HIV Prevention

The Lancet publishes new series on HIV
More

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More