Fewer Natural Disasters in 2018 Says Report

The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) have released their annual disaster statistics report for 2018.

According to CRED’s figures, in 2018, there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses across the world.

Fewer Disasters in 2018

In relation to the previous decade (2008-2017), in 2018 there were fewer disasters (315) compared to the annual average of 348 events, fewer deaths (11,804) compared to the annual average of 67,572, fewer number of people affected compared to the annual average of 198.8 million people affected, and lower economic losses compared to the annual average of $166.7 billion.

This decrease is due to the lack of massive disaster events such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti (222,500 deaths); the 2015/2016 drought in India (330 million people affected); and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami ($210 billion in damages).

Natural disasters 2018 by type. Image / data: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)


CRED reports that flooding affected the highest number of people, accounting for 50% of the total affected, followed by storms which accounted for 28%.

Numbers affected by natural disasters in 2018. Image / data: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)

Flooding in 2018 affected a total of 34.2 million people. The annual average for 2008 to 2017 is 73.1 million. The 2018 floods in India accounted for 23.2 million of those affected by floods in that year.

CRED reports that 2,879 deaths were attributed to flood disasters in 2018, with 275 deaths caused by landslides and 1,734 by storms in 2018. Over 500 people died in the 2018 floods in India, with Kerala among the worst hit states.

Although not categorised as a flood event, the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Indonesia left 4,340 people dead or missing.

In terms of economic losses, floods in 2018 caused US$19.7 billion and storms US$70.8 billion. The 2018 floods in Japan caused a total of US$9.5 billion in economic losses. However, by far the costliest events were the wildfires in USA, which caused US$16.5 billion in economic losses.


Once again Asia was the most severely impacted continent. Given Asia’s large land mass, higher population relative to other continents, and multiple hazard risks, this is not surprising.

Asia suffered the highest impact and accounted for 45% of disaster events, 80% of deaths, and 76% of people affected. Globally, Indonesia recorded nearly half the total deaths (47%), while India recorded the highest number of people affected (35%).

After the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, September, 2018 Photo: BNPB

Read the full Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) 2018 annual disaster statistics report here (pdf)