New research has been published in Science of The Total Environment that reclassifies historical disasters from single to multi-hazard events. By using the EM-DAT global disaster database covering 1900-2023, research found that approximately 19% of disasters were multi-hazard events, responsible for nearly 59% of the global economic losses.

Multi-hazard events are incidents where multiple natural hazards co-occur, in sequence or in combination, posing a significant threat to human life and property. Floods, storms, and earthquakes were the most common types of hazards in multi-hazard events, with landslides as the predominant secondary hazards. The study classified multi-hazard events into four categories based on the interaction between various combinations of natural hazard pairs. There is a higher prevalence of multi-hazard events in Asia and North America, while temporal overlaps of multiple hazards predominate in Europe. The authors believe the findings could help improve the integration of multi-hazard thinking in risk assessments, emergency management response plans, and mitigation policies at national and international levels.

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