ISLAMABAD: An estimated 387 natural hazards and disasters resulted in the death of 30,704 people and caused economic losses of around $223.8 billion all over the world in 2022.

The disasters, recorded by the Emergency Event Database (EM-DAT), affected 185m individuals. The EM-DAT has been maintained by the Brussels-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters since 1988.

According to the database, heat waves caused over 16,000 deaths in Europe, while droughts affected 88.9m people in Africa. Hurricane Ian single-handedly caused damage of around $100bn in the Americas.

The human and economic impact of disasters was relatively higher in Africa, with 16.4 per cent of the total deaths taking place in the continent compared to 3.8pc in the previous two decades. In Nigeria, floods caused 603 deaths and resulted in an economic cost of $4.2 bn, while there were 544 flood-related lives lost in South Africa.

More than half of casualties in Europe due to heatwaves

The toll was relatively lower in Asia despite experiencing some of the most destructive disasters in 2022.

The floods in Pakistan from June-September 2022 affected 33m people, causing 1,739 deaths and an economic damage of $15bn. Monsoon floods also struck India (2,035 deaths, $4.2bn losses), Bangladesh (7.2m people affected), and China ($5bn in economic losses).

The February flood in Brazil killed 272 people and the floods in Eastern Australia in February and March resulted in an economic cost of $6.6bn.

The number of catastrophic events in 2022 was slightly higher than average from 2002 to 2021 — 370. The death toll of 30,704 was three times higher than in 2021 but below the 2002-2021 average of 60,955 deaths, the latter being influenced by a few mega-disasters, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake (222,570 deaths). For a more useful comparison, the 2022 toll is almost twice the 2002-2021 median of 16,011 deaths.

The heat wave-related excess mortality in Europe was estimated to be 16,305 deaths, accounting for over half of the total death toll in 2022. There were at least five record-breaking heat waves in Europe in 2022, with summer temperatures reaching 47C.

The drought-induced famine in Uganda caused 2,465 deaths, making it the second deadliest disaster event in 2022 after the European heat waves. In addition, droughts impacted 88.9m people in six African countries — Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso. Notable drought events also occurred in China where 6.1m people were affected, costing damage of around $7.6b. The droughts in the US and Brazil had an economic cost of $22bn and $4bn, respectively.

The year 2022 was also marked by three major storm events, including two in the Philippines: Tropical Storm Megi in April (346 deaths) and Tropical Storm Nalgae in October (3.3m people affected). Hurricane was the costliest disaster event with economic losses of $100bn.

As for earthquakes, three events stood out in 2022, with two of these ranking among the top ten deadliest disaster events: the southeastern Afghanistan earthquake in June (1,036 fatalities) and the November earthquake in Indonesia (334 fatalities).

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Pipeline progress
25 Feb, 2024

Pipeline progress

THE outgoing caretaker government has decided to move forward with the much-delayed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline...
Engaging the Taliban
25 Feb, 2024

Engaging the Taliban

DEALING with the Taliban — Afghanistan’s de facto rulers — continues to present a diplomatic dilemma for the...
Burden or opportunity?
Updated 25 Feb, 2024

Burden or opportunity?

Maryam Nawaz is embarking on a journey of challenges and opportunities.
Course correction
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

Course correction

PTI should not abandon its power and responsibility while expecting an external stakeholder to set things right.
The plot thickens
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

The plot thickens

THE recent explosive allegations by Liaquat Ali Chattha, the former commissioner of Rawalpindi, have thrust the...
Trigger-happy police
24 Feb, 2024

Trigger-happy police

ARE the citizens of Karachi becoming fair game again? There were some grisly signs of a rapid return to living...