Frequently asked questions
EM-DAT is a global database on natural and technological disasters that contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of more than 17,000 disasters in the world from 1900 to present. EM-DAT is maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the School of Public Health of the Université catholique de Louvain located in Brussels, Belgium.
Its main objectives are to assist humanitarian action at both national and international levels; to rationalize decision-making for disaster preparedness; and to provide an objective basis for vulnerability assessment and priority setting.
EM-DAT includes all disasters from 1900 until present, which fit at least one of the following criteria:
•10 or more people killed;
•100 or more people affected;
•declaration of a state of emergency
•Call for international assistance
EM-DAT includes geographical, temporal, human and economic information on disasters at the country level. More details on the variables and information included in EM-DAT and the data processing methodology can be found in the “Explanatory Notes” section.
5. In which value is the Estimated Damage entered into EM-DAT?
The estimated damage is entered in US $ (in thousands) in the value of the year of occurrence.
Empty fields are usually the way missing values or non reported information are entered into EM-DAT. A “0” in EM-DAT does not represent a value and can mean that no information is available.
The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies. Priority is given to data from UN agencies, governments and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This prioritization is not only a reflection of the quality or value of the data, it also reflects the fact that most reporting sources do not cover all disasters or have political limitations that could affect the figures. The entries are constantly reviewed for redundancy, inconsistencies and incompleteness. CRED consolidates and updates data on a daily basis. A further check is made at monthly intervals. Revisions are made annually at the end of each calendar year.
EM-DAT is a country-level database, meaning that the disasters data are entered at a country-aggregated level. When the same disaster event affects several countries, the disaster event will result in several country-level disasters being entered into the database. Each of these country-level disasters will have the same identifier. With these multi-country disasters, the inclusion criteria apply to figures for entire disaster event.
A complete description of the EM-DAT content and the compilation methodologies is available in the section “Explanatory Notes” of the website.
EM-DAT is internally updated on a daily basis. However, the publicly accessible information is updated every 3 months, after all the data has been validated and cross-checked with different sources.
The EM-DAT data can be consulted through the database section (link) of the website. The database section is composed of four dynamic search tools (country and disaster profiles, disaster list and advanced search). All the online generated profiles, summary tables, trends and maps are directly downloadable. However, access to the raw data is only possible through a data request procedure. Each request is reviewed individually by the EM-DAT team and access to the data is only granted on a case-by-case basis.
The EM-DAT database is protected by the law of June 30th, 1994 on copyrights and the law of August 31st, 1998 on the legal protection of databases. Access to the EM-DAT database is made available free of charge by the UCL. The reproduction and communication of the information from EM-DAT is authorized by any means and in all forms, provided that the source is clearly mentioned and as follows:
“EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database – www.emdat.net – Université catholique de Louvain – Brussels – Belgium.”
The search engine has been designed to offer the user the possibility to directly browse updated and validated disaster information of EM-DAT.
The search is composed of:
•Country profiles given by natural and technological disasters.
•Disasters profiles given by natural and technological and groups of disasters.
•Disasters list accessible by selecting a data set (region or country, period or period in years, disaster group or disaster type).
•The Advanced search: allow users to generate datasheets based on the overall EM-DAT records. Three statistical options are available to generate tables and data sets: Frequency, cross tabulations and totals.
•Maps: based upon the EM-DAT database, maps providing geographical summaries of natural disasters events and impacts since 1974 are available.
•Trends: This section provides numerous pre-made graphs and other figures, which display various trends and relationships within the EM-DAT.
EM-DAT website is running online in 1024x768 pixels as minimum resolution recommended:
•For Linux users: Click on System -> Preferences -> Screen Resolution, a new window will appear where you can choose the correspondent resolution. Click Close to apply the changes.
•For Windows users: Click on Start button, slide your cursor up to Control Panel or Setting in older versions and double-click on the Display icon. When the Display Properties windows opens, click on the Setting tab. Then, you’ll see a Screen resolution area. Slide the button to the right or left until the text below shifts to 1024x768 pixels. Click on the Apply button, and then OK to exit the windows.
•For Macintosh users: Go to Apple menu, then select the System Preferences option. Click on Displays options, then click on Display tab. Select the 1024x768 resolution from the list in the Resolutions panel in the left-hand side of the window.
By default, EM-DAT website content is ready to run in all major browsers (including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari). However, certain processes haves been developed with Adobe Macromedia Flash© and therefore you will need to install the Adobe Flash plug-in which is freely available here.
EM-DAT has a quarterly newsletter called “CRED Crunch” that is posted to the EM-DAT website. You can subscribe to this newsletter filling with your Email the field “Newsletter” on the home page of EM-DAT.