The 2016 Annual Disaster Statistical Review makes sobering reading for us. It’s too big to post here, but
is downloadable through a number of sources. See also the CredCrunch45 – 2016 preliminary results for an abbreviated assessment of the early results.
In brief summary, 342 natural disasters were registered, a welcome drop on the 10 year average. Deaths from natural disasters were also lower, the ten year average is 69,827 per year. However, the number of people affected was 564 million or 7.6% of the world population. This is way above the average of 224 million per year.
As a company, we are less worried about how many disasters the world receives in a year, distressing thought the number might be; but we are very concerned about the number of people affected. One person in 14 of the people on the planet was affected in 2016.
Floods killed the most people, then storms and earthquakes. These types of disaster concern us because they delay a timely response, by stopping free surface movement. Floods break bridges and rising water isolates villages. That’s when helicopters come in. They can provide lifesaving flood response support or lift people to safety.
But drought affected the most people. With India reporting 330 million people in drought – the largest single drought ever. This proportion of droughts is concerning, but not that uncommon. That is why WLE Logistics Southern Africa with its affiliated charity, Wings Like Eagles, has been looking seriously at how it can best make its drought response. Helicopters are too expensive and the numbers affected are too big for helicopters to make much of a difference in a drought. Other responses are needed from us.
The report shows the economic damage done by disasters but we are less concerned about that, although it does affect us by pushing up insurance rates. The areas of biggest economic damage tend to be in the richest countries. There, the insurance coverage and the disaster response equipment both tend to be much more sophisticated. Rural farmers in Africa for example don’t report much economic damage; but hundreds of thousands can be affected. Also, as a proportion of their livelihood, the effect of the disaster can be financially small but personally devastating on poorer people. Just as an example, Mozambique has a media age of 17.2, and a GDP per capita of $1,200 per year according to the World Fact Book. So 50% of the people affected by disasters are probably under 18.
Hopefully you can appreciate how we use our values to assess such numbers. Why not contact us and tell us what you think?
We continue to thank the Catholic University of Louvain for their work on the statistics for the world’s disasters. Why not visit their website?