Disasters worldwide from 1900-2008

Added By Ganglion

Disaster data from 1900 – 2008, organized by start and end date, country (and sub-location), disaster type (and sub-type), disaster name, cost, and persons killed and affected by the disaster.

Create disaster data trend reporting, based on geography, frequency, date or nature of the event. Design a visualization or time lapse illustrating disaster events around the globe. Draw correlation between disasters and the resulting world response by tracking Tweets and other social media references. Has social media played a role in disaster recovery, awareness and sympathizing?

The disaster data includes both natural and technological events, where natural disasters are further organized into groups and sub-types (see Disaster Classification scheme below).

This is the only public domain natural disaster data collection in existence: the other two (Sigma from Swiss Re and NatCat from Munich Re) are private.

For a disaster to be entered into the database, it must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Ten (10) or more people reported killed.
  • Hundred (100) or more people reported affected.
  • Declaration of a state of emergency.
  • Call for international assistance.

Disaster Classification:

Natural and Technological

The natural disaster category has 5 sub-groups, with 12 disaster types and more than 30 sub-types:

Geophysical: Events originating from solid earth
Earthquake, Volcano, Mass Movement (dry)

Meteorological: Events caused by short-lived/small to meso scale atmospheric processes (lifecycle lasting from minutes to days)

Hydrological: Events caused by deviations in the normal water cycle and/or overflow of bodies of water caused by wind set-up
Flood, Mass Movement (wet)

Climatological: Events caused by long-lived/meso to macro scale processes (in the spectrum from intra-seasonal to multi-decadal climate variability)
Extreme Temperature, Drought, Wildfire

Biological: Disaster caused by the exposure of living organisms to germs and toxic substances
Epidemic, Insect Infestation, Animal Stampede


Start: The date when the disaster began.
End: The date when the disaster ended.
Country: Country(ies) in which the disaster has occurred.
Location: A sub-location classification if available.
Type: The type of disaster according to pre-defined classification.
Sub_Type: Further classification of the type of disaster.
Name: The name of the disaster if available.
Killed: Persons confirmed as dead and persons missing and presumed dead (official figures when available).
Affected: Total of people injured, homeless, and affected. “Affected” means people requiring immediate assistance during a period of emergency; it can also include displaced or evacuated people.
Cost: Several institutions have developed methodologies to quantify these losses in their specific domain. However, there is no standard procedure to determine a global figure for economic impact. Estimated damage are given (000,000).
Id: A unique identifier for the disaster.


EM-DAT License

The EM-DAT database is protected by law (30 June 1994) and copyright (31 August 1998). EM-DAT was created in 1988 at the Université Catholique de Louvain by researchers at the Centre de Recherche sur l’Epidemiologie des Desastres – Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The database was set up with the support of the WHO and the Belgian government. Since 1999, CRED has received support from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The Université Catholique de Louvain holds the copyright for the database.

The EM-DAT database has been made available for unrestricted access free of charge by UCL so that anyone with a query can obtain information.

The reproduction and communication of the information obtained using the EM-DAT is authorised by any means and in all forms, provided that the source is mentioned clearly as follows:

“EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database – – Université Catholique de Louvain – Brussels – Belgium."