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Global number of natural disasters events 2000-2020

In 2020, there were a total of 416 natural disasters events worldwide. The Asian Pacific region experienced the second highest number of natural disasters, most likely due to its size and susceptibility.

Deaths and costs of natural disasters

Natural disasters affect almost every part of the world. In 2018, Indonesia faced the highest number of deaths in the world due to the earthquakes and tsunami that occurred there in September. In the United States that year, most of fatalities from natural disasters came from tropical cyclones, wildfires, heat, and drought. The most expensive natural disaster in the United States came from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 due to the destruction caused over a large area. In the decade 2010-2019, North American Hurricanes accounted for four out the five most costly natural disasters.

Climate change and natural disasters

Climate change has influenced the prevalence of natural disasters. Climate change can raise the risk of extreme weather and can result in the increased risk of droughts and the increased strength of storms, such as tropical cyclones. The elevated levels of water vapor in the atmosphere gives storms the power to emerge. Furthermore, the heat in the atmosphere and increased ocean surface temperatures lead to higher wind speeds found in tropical storms. Areas that are usually unaffected by the sea are becoming more vulnerable due to rising sea levels as waves and currents become stronger.

Annual number of natural disaster events globally from 2000 to 2020

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Release date

January 2021



Survey time period

2000 to 2020

Supplementary notes

For an event to be characterized as a natural disaster event, at least one of the criteria must be met: economic loss of 50 million U.S. dollars; insured loss of 25 million U.S. dollars; ten fatalities; 50 injured; or 2,000 homes or structures damaged.
Figures have been restated in the 2020 edition of the report.

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Statistics on "Natural Disasters"

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