Guidelines

EM-DAT – Data Entry – Field Description/Definition

Date entered: The date (dd/mm/yyyy) when the disaster event is recorded into the database (automatic through the login)

Entered by: The name of the person who recorded the disaster into the database (automatic through the login)

Last updated: The date (dd/mm/yyyy) the disaster event recorded into the database has been updated (automatic)

Entered by: The name of the person who has updated the information on the disaster event (automatic through the login)

Level 1 – Disaster event

Disaster Number: A unique 8 digit disaster number is generated for each disaster event. The “DisN°” includes the year (4 digits) and a sequential number (4 digits) which is unique for each disaster event (i.e. Tsunami 2004 = DisN° 2004-0659).

Disaster group: Two main groups of disasters are distinguished in EM-DAT: natural disasters and technological disasters. This field is automatically linked to the disaster sub-group and the disaster type.  There is a third group ‘Complex disasters’ which include some major famine situation for which the drought were not the main causal factor.  See Table 1 for the Disasters Classification.

Disaster sub-group: The natural disaster category is divided into 6 sub-groups: Biological, Geophysical, Climatological, Hydrological, Meteorological and Extra-terrestrial disasters.  

Disaster type:  1 main disaster type is identified per event. This field is automatically linked to the disaster sub-group and the disaster group. Two or more disasters may be related (a disaster may occur as a consequence of a primary event). For example, a cyclone may generate a flood or a landslide; or an earthquake may cause a gas line to rupture, causing an ecological disaster. The primary disaster type (or triggering event) is recorded first, followed by the Associated Disaster 1 and 2 fields by the secondary ones.

Disaster sub-type: Subdivision related to the disaster type.

Disaster sub-sub-type: Any appropriate sub-division of the disaster sub-type (not applicable for all disaster sub-types).

Table 1 – Disasters classification[1]

Disaster

Group

Disaster

Sub-Group

Disaster

Type

Disaster

Sub-Type

Disaster

Sub-Sub Type

Natural

Geophysical

Earthquake

Ground shaking

 

Tsunami

 

Volcanic activity

Ash fall

 

Lahar

 

Pyroclastic flow

 

Lava flow

 

Mass Movement

 

 

Meteorological

Storm

Tropical storm

 

Extra-tropical  storm

 

Convective storm

Derecho

Hail

Lightning/thunderstorm

Rain

Tornado

Sand/dust storm

Winter storm/blizzard

Storm/surge

Wind

Extreme Temperature

Cold wave

 

Heat Wave

 

Severe winter conditions

Snow/ice

Frost/freeze

Fog

 

 

Hydrological

Flood

Coastal flood

 

Riverine flood

 

Flash flood

 

Ice jam flood

 

Landslide

Avalanche (snow, debris, mudflow, rock fall)

 

Wave action

Rogue wave

 

Seiche

 

Climatological

Drought

Drought

 

Glacial Lake outburst

 

 

Wildfire

Forest fires

 

Land fire: Brush, bush, pasture

 

Biological

Epidemic

Viral diseases

 

Bacterial diseases

 

Parasitic diseases

 

Fungal diseases

 

Prion diseases

 

Insect Infestation

Locust

Grasshopper

 

Animal accident

 

 

Extra-terrestrial

Impact

Airburst

 

Space weather

Energic particles

 

Geomagnetic storm

 

Shockwave

 

Technological

Technological

Industrial accident

Chemical spill

 

Collapse

 

Explosion

 

Fire

 

Gas leak

 

Poisoning

 

Radiation

 

Other

 

Miscellaneous accident

Collapse

 

Explosion

 

Fire

 

Other

 

Transport accident

Air

 

Rail

 

Road

 

Water

 

Entry criteria: The reason for recording the disaster event into EM-DAT. At least one of the following criteria must be fulfilled in order for an event to be entered into the database: 

Deaths: 10 or more people deaths

Affected: 100 or more people affected/injured/homeless.

Declaration/international appeal: Declaration by the country of a state of emergency and/or an appeal for international assistance

Some secondary criteria are also taken into account when figures are missing, such as “Significant Disaster/Significant damage (i.e. “worst disasters in the decade» and/or “ it was the disaster with the heaviest damage for the country”).

Event name: Any specification related to the disaster which allow its identification (i.e. “Mitch” for the name of storm, “Boeing 707” for the type of plane in an air crash, name of the diseases such as “Cholera” for an epidemic, “Etna” for the name of the volcano, etc.)

Glide Number: The GLobal IDEntifier number (GLIDE; find out more) is a globally common Unique ID code for disasters intended to facilitate linkages between records in diverse disaster databases and disaster exchange information websites such as ReliefWeb

Level 2 – Country/countries 

Geographical information

Country: The country  in which the disaster has occurred or  had an impact; with the name and spelling being taken from standard list of country names published by the International Standards Organization (ISO). If a disaster has affected more than one country, there will be one entry for each country.

ISO Code: The International Organization for Standardization attributes a 3-letter code to each country. CRED uses the ISO 3166. This field is automatically linked to the country.

Region: The region to which the country belongs. This field is automatically linked to the country.  CRED use the UN regional division

Continent: The continent to which the country belongs. This field is automatically linked to the country.

River basin: Name of the river basins of the affected area (used usually for flood event).

Latitude: North-South coordinates; when available (used for earthquakes, volcanoes and floods)

Longitude: East-West coordinates; when available (used for earthquakes, volcanoes and floods)

Location: Geographical specification (e.g. name of a city, village, department, province, state, or district). This allows for the subsequent analysis of disaster occurrence and impact by region, district or any other sub-national administrative boundary.
 

Temporal information

Start day/month/year: The date when the disaster occurred. This date is well defined for all sudden-impact disasters. For disaster situations developing gradually over a longer time period (i.e. drought) with no onset date, the field « day » can be left blank.

End day/month/year: The date when the disaster ended. This date is well defined for all sudden-impact disasters. For disaster situations ending over a longer time period (i.e. drought) with no definite concluding date, the field « day » can be left blank.

Local time: The local time when the disaster occurred (given for sudden disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes).

Physical characteristics

Origin: The triggering origin of the disaster (i.e.  Heavy rains for a flood, drought for a forest fire).

Associated disasters 1 and 2: The secondary and /or associated effects or consequences of a primary event (i.e. Landslide for a flood, explosion after an earthquake, etc …)

Disaster magnitude scale and value: The “intensity “of a specific disaster (the unit is automatically linked to the disaster type)

       Earthquake: Richter Scale
       Flood: Km² (area covered)
       Drought : Km² (area covered)
       Insect Infestation: Km² (area covered)
       Extreme Temperature: °C (minimum or maximum value)
       Epidemic: Number of Vaccinated
       Wild fire: Km2 (area covered)
       Storm: kph (speed of wind)
       Radiation: curies
       Chemical spill: m³

Status

Aid contribution: The total amount (given in 000'US$ current value, i.e. value at the time of the report) of contribution for immediate relief activities given to the country as a response to the disaster (using the Financial Tracking System of OCHA from 1992 onwards).

OFDA response: Whether or not OFDA responded to the disaster.

Appeal for international assistance + date: Was there any request for an international assistance from the affected country(ies) and when was it requested.

Declaration of disaster + date: Was there a state of emergency declared in the country(ies) and when was it declared.

Level 3 – Source of information

Source type and name: The database is compiled from various sources including UN, governmental and non-governmental agencies, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies (see Table 2). As there can be conflicting information and figures, CRED has established a method of ranking these sources according to their ability to provide trustworthy and complete data. In the majority of cases, a disaster will only be entered into EM-DAT if at least two sources report the disaster's occurrence in terms of deaths and/or affected persons.

The final figures in EM-DAT usually originate from the priority source, but they can also be completed by a secondary source. In certain cases, a secondary source can become a primary one. This can be the case, for example, when final figures are made available long after the disaster has occurred. Also, some sources are used for specific disasters (i.e. USGS for earthquakes, WHO for epidemics).

Table 2: Main Sources used in EM-DAT (non exhaustive)

Source Type

Source Information

Type of disasters covered

United Nations

OCHA

IRIN
 

WFP

 

WMO
 

WHO/OMS
 

FAO

Natural disasters

Natural and technological disasters (Africa)

 

Drought/Famine

 

Natural disasters
 

Epidemics
 

Drought/Famine

National Governments

National
Governments

Natural and technological
disasters

US Governments

FEMA

NOAA
 

OFDA

USGS

Smithsonian
 

DFO
 

CDC

Natural disasters (America)
 

Natural disasters
 

Natural and technological disasters

 

Earthquakes
 

Volcanoes
 

Floods, slides and windstorms
 

Epidemics

IFRC

IFRC

Natural and technological disasters 

Inter-Governmental Organizations

World Bank

Major natural disasters

ReInsurance Companies

SwissRe

MünichRe

Natural and technological disasters
 

Natural disasters

Press

AFP

Natural and technological disasters

Reporting date: Latest reporting date of the source

Reliability score (1/5): A reliability score going ranking from (1) very low - to (5) very high, has been established in order to ensure the quality of the data.

Human impact

Deaths: Number of people who lost their life because the event happened.

Missing: The number of people whose whereabouts since the disaster are unknown, and presumed dead based on official figures.

Total deaths  : deaths + missing people

Injured: People suffering from physical injuries, trauma, or an illness requiring immediate medical assistance as a direct result of a disaster.

The number of injured people is entered when the term “injured” is written in the source. The injured are always part of the "total affected". Any related word like “hospitalized” is considered as injured. If there is no precise number is given, such as “hundreds of injured”, 200 injured will be entered (although it is probably underestimated). Any other specification will be written in the comments field.

Affected: People requiring immediate assistance during an emergency situation. The indicator affected is often reported and is widely used by different actors to convey the extent, impact, or severity of a disaster in non-spatial terms.  The ambiguity in the definitions and the different criteria and methods of estimation produce vastly different numbers, which are rarely comparable. 

They are always part of the ‘total affected population’. Reporting from the field should give the number of individuals that are affected; if only the number of families affected or houses damaged are reported, the figure is multiplied by the average family size for the affected area (x5 for the developing countries, x3 for the industrialised countries, according to UNDP country classification). Any other specification will be written in the comments field.

Specific examples:

     - Number of houses damaged = 50 x 5 = 250 affected (although it is probably underestimated)

     - If the value ranging from a minimum to a maximum :  the average is taken

     - Thousands of affected = 2000 affected  (although it is probably underestimated)

Homeless: Number of people whose house is destroyed or heavily damaged and therefore need shelter after an event.

They are always part of the ‘total affected population’. Reporting from the field should give the number of individuals that are homeless; if only the numbers of families homeless or houses destroyed are reported, the figure is multiplied by the average family size for the affected area (x5 for the developing countries, x3 for the industrialised countries, according to UNDP country list). Any other specification will be written in the comments field.

Specific examples:

     - Number of houses destroyed = 50 x 5 = 250 homeless (although it is probably underestimated)

     - If the value ranging from a minimum to a maximum : take the average

     - Thousands of homeless = 2000 homeless (although it is probably underestimated)

Total affected: The total affected is the sum of injured, affected and homeless.

Economic impact

Total estimated damages (in 000'US$ current value): A value of all damages and economic losses directly or indirectly related to the disaster. The information may include the breakdown figures by sectors: Social, Infrastructure, Production, Environment and other (when available).

Reconstruction cost (in 000'US$ current value): These costs are for the replacement of lost assets. Reconstruction costs are different than total damages as they must take into account present construction or purchase costs of goods, as well as the additional cost of prevention and mitigation measures to reduce damage from future disasters.

Insured losses (in 000'US$ current value): Economic damages which are covered by the insurance companies.

Disaster impact

Check box specifying the different sectors affected by the disaster: Animals, Industry, Electricity, Water supply/sanitation, Communications, Cultural infrastructure
Transportation, Other (+ specifications of what “other” means).

Infrastructure: The infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed by the disaster, given in absolute values or percentages: Houses (number), Bridges (number), Commercial/business (number), Roads (km), Rails (km), Education (number of schools), Health (numbers of health centers/hospitals), Forest (ha), Farmland/crops (ha)

Comments: This field includes all other relevant information related to the event:

     - Other relevant information related to people recorded as dead, injured, homeless, affected and the breakdown of the estimated damages; any other relevant indicator such as the number of people displaced, evacuated, etc ...

     - Miscellaneous information related to the event (e.g. worst disaster in the region for the last decade).


[1] The Disasters classification used in EM-DAT is based on and adapted from  the he IRDR Peril Classification and hazard Glossary.  DATA Project Report #2, March 2014 { http://www.irdrinternational.org/2014/03/28/irdr-peril-classification-an...}

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