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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

Last updated on: January 25, 2011 10:48 IST

373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people in 2010, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). 

The top two most lethal disasters -- the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 222,500 people, as well as the Russian heat wave in summer, which caused about 56,000 fatalities made 2010 the deadliest years in at least two decades. 

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Image: People look on as a street with vehicles is engulfed by heavy flooding in downtown Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, February 20, 2010.
Photographs: Duarte Sa/Reuters
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"These figures are bad, but could be seen as benign in years to come," said Margareta Wahlstrom, UN Secretary-General for Special Representative for Disaster Reduce.

"Unless we act now, we will see more and more disasters due to unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation. And weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future, due to factors that include climate change." 


Image: Residents watch television at their flooded house in Bangkok October 25, 2010
Photographs: Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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For the first time, the Americas headed the list of the world's worst affected continents, where 75 per cent of total deaths were caused by one single event in the Caribbean: the Haiti earthquake.

Europe follows, accounting for nearly a fifth of the year's total deaths from disasters brought on by the Russian heat wave.


Image: A child walks past a crack caused by the earthquake in a street in Port-au-Prince January 16, 2010
Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Other extreme climate events experienced by Europe include Storm Xynthia in the west (February 2010), heavy flood in France (June 2010), and the extreme winter conditions all over Europe in December 2010. 


Image: A woman reacts near destroyed buildings after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 13, 2010
Photographs: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Asia experienced fewer disaster deaths that the Americas and Europe in 2010 representing 4.7 per cent of total mortality that year but remains the highest affected continent.

Some 89 per cent of all people affected by disasters in 2010 lived in Asia, according to CRED. 


Image: A 70-year-old woman cries for her relatives who died during a mudslide in Zhouqu of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China, August 17, 2010
Photographs: China Daily/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Of the list of top 10 disasters with the highest death counts, five occurred in Asia -- China, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

Earthquakes killed 2,968 people in China in April and 530 people in Indonesia in October.


Image: Residents being evacuated through flood waters dodge an army truck carrying relief supplies for flood victims in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province August 11, 2010
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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From May to August, floods killed 1,691 people in that country, and a further 1,765 were killed by mudslides, landslide or rock fall triggered heavy rains and floods in August.

Nearly 2,000 people were killed by massive floods in Pakistan that covered one-fifth of the landmass, due to rains, which pelted the northwest from July to August. 


Image: Boys look at the eruption of Mount Merapi volcano in Manisrenggo village, in the Klaten district of Indonesia's central Java province November 10, 2010
Photographs: Andry Prasetyo/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Floods and landslides during the summer in China are estimated to have cost US$18 billion, the Pakistan floods US$9.5 billion, and the Haiti earthquake US$8 billion. 


Image: People wait to take a train to their hometowns, in the Senen train station, which was flooded after heavy rains in the morning, in Jakarta September 6, 2010
Photographs: Supri/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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But the costliest event in 2010 was the Chilean earthquake in February, which cost US$30 billion in disaster damage.


Image: A man looks at a destroyed house in the low-income neighborhood of Catia in Caracas, Venezuela, December 1, 2010
Photographs: Jorge Silva/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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And yet, economic losses in 2010 still do not surpass that of 2005, where damage from Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Wilma alone amounted to US$139 billion. In 2008, the earthquake in Sichuan, China, inflicted $86 billion in damage, bringing the total for that year to about US$200 billion. 


Image: A destroyed railroad is seen after heavy rains in Rio Largo city, in the northeastern state of Alagoas, Brazil, June 23, 2010
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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"Preparedness at all levels needs to be reviewed and overhauled," said Guha-Sapir.

"The year 2010 has shown that we should do better not only for relief response but also for preparedness," she added. 


Image: An aerial view shows a bus in the Nartuby river in Draguignan, southeastern France, June 18, 2010
Photographs: Sebastien Nogier/Reuters
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373 disasters killed 296,800 people in 2010

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Strengthening local community resilience will be a leading topic at the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction -- a gathering of stakeholders in disaster risk reduction scheduled for May 8 to 13, in Geneva, Switzerland, seat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. 


Image: Rescuers help a woman to move a safer place from flooded Ghaghar river after heavy rains in Punchkula in the northern Indian state of Haryana September 8, 2010
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters
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