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DATA STORY : Natural Disasters

  • Published
    10th May, 2022

India, the second most populated country in the world, is highly exposed to natural disasters. Due to its geographical location, seismic risk zone and intertropical convergence point, the Indian subcontinent also faces recurring atmospheric phenomena: heavy monsoon rains, floods, episodes of high heat, drought, etc.

In addition, the high population density in risk areas further aggravates the situation. The number of human casualties continues to rise, from 1 674 deaths in 2015 to 2 045 in 2019. According to the report of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the total number of people who died between 2 000 and 2 019 is 79 732.

During the same period, India had reported 321 catastrophic events. It is the third country in the world in terms of the number of natural disasters, behind China and the United States. According to the same report, India has suffered nearly 80 billion USD in economic losses in 20 years.

Some of the most frequent disasters include:

  • Floods: According to the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index report, floods account for 52% of the total calamities affecting India, claiming 63% of the material damage and 32% of the human losses reported as natural disasters. On an annual average, 7.500.000 hectares are flooded, and 1.600 lives are lost.

  • Earthquakes: The probability of an earthquake is high in India, with nearly 60% of the territory being classified as a moderate to severe seismic risk zone. The last earthquake to date occurred in 2015. With a magnitude of 7.8, the earthquake killed 9 000 people and injured more than 20 000 others. More than 600 000 homes were also destroyed by the tremor.

  • Cyclones: Located in the intertropical convergence zone, the Indian subcontinent is one of the regions most affected by cyclones. In May 2020, Cyclone Amphan, devastated India and Bangladesh, killing 84 people and devastating the coastal areas of both countries. It was the most powerful cyclone to hit the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 cyclone that killed 10 000 people in Odisha State (northeast India).

  • Heatwaves and droughts: Extreme temperatures and resulting weather conditions significantly affect the health of residents and the agricultural sector. With global warming, these episodes of intense heat, more than 50 degrees, are becoming increasingly frequent.

Nature went wild in 2021, with a succession of catastrophic events, occurring mainly during the summer, impacting the four corners of the globe, and causing record human, economic and insurance losses. The figures for 2021 show that natural disaster losses were significantly higher than those reported in recent years. The economic cost of these events has reached 280 billion USD in 2021, up by 33% compared to 2020, and by 30% compared to the average of the last ten years (216 billion USD).

This data story aims to highlight the losses incurred because of Natural disasters.

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