EU Science Hub

JRC recommendations for better data on disaster losses

Oct 13 2013

Coinciding with the UN's International Day for Disaster Reduction on Sunday 13 October, the Joint Research Centre has recently published a study on technical recommendations for a European approach to standardise databases on disaster losses (human casualties, property and environment damage, and economic loss). Loss data is useful for implementing disaster risk reduction strategies in Europe (from local to national scales) and for helping to understand disaster loss trends at global level.

Taking stock of existing work, the JRC study outlines a conceptual model for utilising disaster loss data. This model allows Member States to perform a cost-benefit analysis of alternative approaches to improve the quality of their disaster loss databases.

The three application areas on which the model is based are disaster loss accounting (to document the disaster trends and gather statistics), forensics (to identify the cause of the disaster), and risk modelling (to improve risk assessment and forecast methods). Depending on the scale (detail of recording) and scope (geographic coverage) of the database, technical requirements will be more or less stringent, and the implementation costs will vary accordingly.

The proposed technical requirements rely as much as possible on existing standards, best practices, and approaches found in literature, international and national organisations and academic institutions. They cover both very detailed (at building level) and coarse scale recordings (e.g. at province level).

The JRC is increasingly active in the field of disaster risk reduction with its scientific support. It is applied to develop better disaster loss databases, improved early warning systems, and to foster partnerships between science and policy organisations for a more effective uptake of scientific results and evidence in policy-making and operational disaster management.