Disaster mortality, 1996-2015
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...
In total, the number of weather- and climate-related disasters more than doubled over the past forty years, accounting for 6,392 events in the 20-year period 1996-2015, up from 3,017 in 1976-1995. In 2015, the hottest year on record, almost as many people died in heatwaves as were killed in the Nepalese earthquake. There was also a doubling of major reported droughts (32) by comparison with the annual average of 16 over the decade 2006-2015.
In terms of disaster mortality, EM-DAT recorded 749,000 earthquake deaths in the past 20 years, with 357,000 lives lost between 2006 and 2015, the majority in the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. In the previous decade (1996- 2005) earthquakes claimed 392,000 lives, a figure inflated by another megadisaster, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Analysis of EM-DAT data shows that tsunamis were 16 times more deadly than ground movements in terms of the proportion of victims killed. That makes tsunamis (a sub-type of earthquake) the most deadly major hazard on the planet.