Assessing the Real Cost of Disasters

The Need for Better Evidence

image of Assessing the Real Cost of Disasters

Disasters disrupt socio-economic activities and cause substantial damage. Yet, their full economic impact remains largely unknown, especially the cost of smaller disasters and indirect impacts such as those due to business disruptions. Similarly, little information exists on the total amount of public resources that countries devote to disaster risk management. Reliable, comprehensive and comparable data on the economic impact of disasters as well as on public spending on disaster management and risk prevention are essential for developing effective disaster risk management policies. This report provides an overview of countries' efforts to improve the quality and quantity of information on the costs of disasters.

English Korean


Executive Summary

Beyond the human costs, disasters continue to cause significant disruptions to socio-economic activities. The extent of these disruptions is a major policy concern. However, the data needed to fully account for these shocks remain incomplete. The most comprehensive international repositories of information on past disasters contain data on the economic impact of less than half of the recorded disaster events. The information that is available is often gathered from diverse sources with different aims. Furthermore, there is no standard methodology for assessing disasters’ economic impacts. Some databases collect information on disaster damages and losses due to business disruptions; others include only data on insured losses, while still others only include disaster damages over a certain threshold . This makes comparison between events within and across countries difficult.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error