Differential Mortality Patterns from Hydro-Meteorological Disasters: Evidence from Vital Records of Cause of Death Data by Sex and Age

Raya Muttarak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Erich Striessnig, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

This paper evaluates the heterogeneous impact of hydro-meteorological disasters on populations, along the dimensions of age, sex, and development. The analysis is based on previously untapped cause of death data over the period 1995 – 2011 obtained from the WHO mortality database which collects 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 for men are consistently higher than for women across all age groups and that the differential by sex is larger for adults than for young children or the elderly. Furthermore, as the Human Development Index (HDI) improves, the mortality differential by sex becomes smaller. 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.

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Presented in Session 104: Methods and Measurement in Population, Development, and Environment Research