In August 2018, the state of Kerala in India was hit by severe flash floods, which carried heavy human and economic consequences. Flash floods are a particular type of flood disasters, characterized by their rapid onset and potential for infrastructure destruction. In this issue, we discuss flash floods and their global importance, and we present a field mission to Kerala undertaken by the CRED Team in partnership with the Indian NGO Doctors For You.
(Flash) Flood profile of India and Kerala
Between 1998 and 2017 climate-related and geophysical disasters killed 1.3 million people and left a further 4.4 billion injured, homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. While the majority of fatalities were due to geophysical events, mostly earthquakes and tsunamis, 91% of all disasters were caused by floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather events.
UN 20-year review: earthquakes and tsunamis kill more people while climate change is driving up economic losses
Background and objective: Understanding how natural disasters affect their victims is key to improve prevention and mitigation. Typhoon Haiyan strongly hit the Philippines in 2013. In Leyte, health staff of two hospitals had a key role as responders, but also as victims. Scarce literature is available on how health staff may be affected when being disasters' victims. We therefore aimed to understand Haiyan's impact for health staff at personal and work level.
Amongst natural disasters, earthquakes are one of the most lethal kinds due to their unpredictable nature and devastating impact they can have in a matter of seconds. They can occur anywhere, at any time and impact differently depending on their magnitude, the season, the built environment, the time of day, causing a wide range of potential consequences on population. This make them a matter of political and humanitarian concern for health practitioners, policymakers and the hazard management community.
In 2017, EM-DAT data indicates that 318 natural disasters occurred, affecting 122 countries. The impact of which resulted in 9,503 deaths, 96 million people affected, and US$314 billion in economic damages.
The human impact of natural disasters in 2017 was much lower than the last 10 year average, where events with extremely high mortality occurred, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti (225,570 deaths) and the 2008 Nargis Cyclone in Myanmar (138,400 deaths).
Floods are amongst the most damaging and recurrent of all disasters.
Data reveals that floods are at the top of the list of disasters that should worry us, defying our perceptions about most dangerous disasters that are often based around the more media savvy earthquakes. Additionally, floods are morphing into new and even more devastating forms in recent years.
Debarati Guha-Sapir, Philippe Hoyois, Pasacline Wallemacq, and Regina Below
Focus on tropical cyclones on American continent “Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean” (NOAA, 2017).
Natural disasters over the first semester of 2017
During the first semester of 2017, EM-DAT preliminary data shows that 149 disasters occurred in 73 countries. The impact of which resulted in 3,162 deaths, affected more than 80 million people and caused more than US$32.4 billion (A).
The major disasters were floods and landslides occurring in Asia, South America and Africa (B).
Zeinab Cherri 1,*ID , Julita Gil Cuesta 1 ID , Jose M.
Warm conditions affect human health, but the largest impacts are created by strong and prolonged events. These events, which are called ‘heatwaves’, are generally described as a period of abnormally high and quite often humid weather, usually lasting for a minimum of one day.
Since 1990, considerable progress has been made towards improving child health in the world. Nonetheless, worldwide 50 million children younger than five years had acute malnutrition in 20141 and nearly 6 million children died in 2015. The burden is particularly heavy in Africa, where conflict, political fragility and drought are more prevalent. These events affect food security and nutrition by limiting food accessibility, impacting health services and disturbing the care structure within the society.
Svitlana Nidzvetska , Jose M. Rodriguez-Llanes , Isabelle Aujoulat, Julita Gil Cuesta ,Hannah Tappis, Joris A. F. van Loenhout and Debarati Guha-Sapir
In 2016, EM-DAT preliminary data indicates that 301 country level disasters occurred, affecting 102 countries. The impact of which sums up to a total of 7,628 deaths, 411 million affected people, and US$97 billion of economic damages.
Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards over the past 20 years, more than half died in earthquakes, with the remainder due to weather- and climate related hazards. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The poorest nations paid the highest price in terms of the numbers killed per disaster and per 100,000 population.
Georeferencing the footprint of natural disasters
To determine whether pre-emptive oral cholera vaccination reduces disease severity and mortality in people who develop cholera during an outbreak.