Natural disasters1 in 2015 In 2015, 346 natural disasters were recorded in the EM-DAT database. They claimed 22,773 lives, affected over 98 million others and caused economic damages of US$66.5 billion.
The largest disaster of 2015 in terms of mortality was the earthquake in Nepal from April that resulted in 8,831 deaths. It was also one of the most expensive disaster with over 5 billion US$ losses reported.
Globally, Asia was once again the most affected continent by natural disasters, both in terms of occurrence (44%), persons killed (72%) and persons affected (60%). Asia counted also for 40% of the economic losses, just after the Americas with 44%.
2015, considered as the hottest year on record, was marked by significant weather related events such as heat waves, hitting Europe in summertime and causing 3,275 deaths in France and one of the most severe one, hitting India and Pakistan in May with, respectively, 2,248 and 1,229 deaths. In addition, 32 droughts were recorded, affecting over 50.5 million people and demonstrating the El Niño effect. Floods, which traditionally is the type of disaster causing the highest proportion of affected people, were this year ranked second, right after droughts, with 152 floods affecting 27.5 million people and claiming 3,310 lives.
Extreme temperatures, especially heat waves, will be a major challenge to take into account in terms of measurement and management in the upcoming years.