Disaster risk reduction: Why do we need accurate disaster mortality data to strengthen policy and practice?

Dell D. Saulnier*, Helen Green, Rohaida Ismail, Chhea Chhorvann, Norlen Bin Mohamed, Thomas D. Waite, Virginia Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 calls for a reduction in disaster mortality, yet measuring mortality remains a challenge due to varying definitions of disaster mortality, the quality, availability and diversity of data sources, generating mortality estimates, and how mortality data are interpreted. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses five case studies to provide details around some of the complexities involved with measuring disaster mortality and to demonstrate the clear need for accurate disaster mortality data. Findings: The findings highlight the benefits of combining multiple data sources for accurate mortality estimates, access to interoperable and readily available global, national, regional and local data sets, and creating standardized definitions for direct and indirect mortality for easier attribution of causes of death. Originality/value: Countries should find a method of measuring mortality that works for them and their resources, and for the hazards they face. Combining accurate mortality data and estimates and leadership at all levels can inform policy and actions to reduce disaster mortality, and ultimately strengthen disaster risk reduction in countries for all citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-853
Number of pages16
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr Bapon Fakhruddin for his input on the content of the paper. A Swedish Research Council Grant (No. 2016-05678) supports a research and education collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and the National Institute of Public Health Cambodia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Case study
  • Civil registration and vital statistics
  • Disasters
  • Mortality
  • Sendai Framework


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