Differential mortality patterns from hydro-meteorological disasters: Evidence from cause-of-death data by age and sex

Emilio Zagheni, Raya Muttarak, Erich Striessnig

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This paper evaluates the heterogeneous impact of hydro-meteorological disasters on populations along the dimensions of age, sex, and human development. The analysis is based on previously untapped cause-of-death data over the period 1995-2011 that were obtained from the WHO mortality database, and were based on the civil registration records of 63 countries/territories. Using these data, we evaluate patterns of mortality related to meteorological disasters in the spirit of model life tables. We observe that mortality rates from hydro-meteorological disasters for men are consistently higher than for women across all age groups, and that the dierential by sex is larger for adults than for young children or the elderly. Furthermore, the sex dierential in mortality becomes smaller with improvements in human development. Comparing our disaster fatalities with those recorded in the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), we find that the number of deaths from hydro-meteorological disasters was underestimated in the WHO database, especially in the case of highimpact events. In the paper we discuss issues of data quality and data harmonisation for the study of the dierential demographic impact of natural disasters. One of our main goals is to stimulate an interdisciplinary debate in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-70
Number of pages24
JournalVienna Yearbook of Population Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2016

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