Geneva – Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people in 2010, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).
The top two most lethal disasters -- the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 222,500 people, as well as the Russian heat wave in summer, which caused about 56,000 fatalities made 2010 the deadliest years in at least two decades.
"These figures are bad, but could be seen as benign in years to come," said Margareta Wahlström, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Disaster Reduction. "Unless we act now, we will see more and more disasters due to unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation. And weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future, due to factors that include climate change."