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

Emilio Zagheni, Raya Muttarak, Erich Striessnig

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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 di
ff
erential
by sex is larger for adults than for young children or the elderly. Furthermore, the sex
di
ff
erential 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 high-
impact events. In the paper we discuss issues of data quality and data harmonisation
for the study of the di
ff
erential 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
JournalVienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume13
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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