A non-monetary global measure of the direct impact of natural disasters

ISBN/ISSN: 2230-259X (Print) | 2230-2603 (Online)
Author(s): Noy, Ilan
Number of pages: 27 p.

This paper proposes a novel way to aggregate measures of disaster impact, which aims to overcome many of the difficulties previously identified in the literature. This new index is similar, but conceptually different, from the World Health Organization's calculation of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost from the burden of diseases and injuries (WHO, 2013). All measures of impact have been converted into “lifeyears” units. After analyzing worldwide trends in lifeyears lost to disasters, the author concludes with a very preliminary assessment of the likely impact, in lost lifeyears, of the current Ebola epidemic in the three most affected countries in West Africa.