Updates on Sendai Goals A and B

Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Sendai Framework: Implications for Avoidable Deaths Network

By Nibedita S. Ray-Bennett

The year 2023 marks the midpoint of the implementation of the ‘Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030’ agreement. A Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Sendai Framework (MTR SF) was conducted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) with countries and stakeholders throughout 2022.

The MTR SF Report was published in 2023 before the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework. This High-level meeting took place in person in New York on 18-19 May 2023 and was attended by the Member States, United Nations entities and stakeholders. The highlights from the MTR SF that are relevant to the Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN) are presented in this article.

ADN is a member of the UNDRR’s Sendai Framework’s Voluntary Commitment Platform. We are committed to global targets A and B.

  • Target A or One: Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030; and
  • Target B or Two:  Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030.

ADN’s activities are geared around these targets and we submit a six-monthly progress report to the UNDRR – Kobe Office on the same. The MTR SF is vital to inform ADN’s activities because this Report is developed based on stocktaking exercises undertaken by the UNDRR from 2015 to 2022. According to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Mami Mizutori: 

“The MTR SF presents an opportunity for States and stakeholders to review, course-correct [..] so that frameworks for global cooperation can mirror evolving issues rather than become “zero-sum and polarizing” (UNDRR, 2023, p. 5).

In this light, the MTR SF is reviewed to identify missing knowledge relevant to ADN’s activities, and the scope to increase that knowledge so that lives can be saved from the impact of direct and indirect disasters.

Results from the MTR SF

Highlights Targets A and B

Target A: According to the MTR SF Report, the average annual number of deaths and missing persons in the event of a disaster per 100,000 people has decreased from 1.77 in the decade 2005–2014 to 0.82 in the decade 2012–2021. However, this data does not include the 599,239 deaths in 2020 and 237,518 deaths in 2021 that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic as reported by 37 countries via Sendai Framework Monitor (SFM). This exclusion overlooks the impact of concurrent disasters that took place during the time of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the impact on people’s lives and livelihoods as many countries implemented economic lockdown as a preventative measure to contain the spread of the virus in the first phase.

Target B: The average annual number of disaster-affected people, comprising illness and injury as well as those affected by damaged and destroyed dwellings and disrupted livelihoods, during 2015-2021 is 150,214,597 persons per year. While the number of affected people per 100,000 people has been progressively decreasing since the establishment of the Sendai Framework compared with the baseline decade of 2005–2014, the number has increased from 1,147 to 2,066 in the decade 2012–2021.

The burden of disaster deaths and an increasing number of affected people by disasters

Asia and the Pacific are the most disaster-prone regions in the world, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean region. From 1970 to 2021, 57 per cent of all disaster deaths and 87 per cent of the population affected by natural hazards were recorded in Asia and the Pacific. This is largely due to unorganised urbanization, population growth, persistent poverty, and inequalities increasing vulnerability.

Latin America and the Caribbean regions have diverse topography, geography, biodiversity, economic development, and cultures that contribute to the complexity of DRR efforts. During the 2020–2022 period, there were 175 disasters caused by natural hazards recorded in the region, 88 per cent of which were related to meteorological, climatic, and hydrological phenomena.  As a result of these considerable disaster vulnerabilities, progress in the region has been inadequate.

Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to various geophysical and climate-related hazards due to their fragile terrestrial and marine ecosystems and reliance on imports for their economic sectors. As a result, Pacific countries are often disproportionately impacted by disasters.

Conclusion and Implications for Avoidable Deaths Network (ADN)

Concerning target A, it is welcoming news that the number of disaster deaths has decreased compared to the Hyogo Framework Decade of 2005 to 2014 – albeit this data excludes deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the caveat of this data is that it combines disaster deaths and missing persons. It is important to disaggregate disaster deaths and missing persons to improve disaster risk management practices. Furthermore, it is important to document the ‘causes and circumstances’ that lead to disaster deaths so that context-specific interventions can be developed to reduce disaster deaths. Currently, this knowledge is missing. 

Concerning target B, the number of people affected by disasters has increased. This data is most likely an underestimate of the reality that the disaster-affected people are enduring on a day-to-day basis in villages, towns and cities of Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean regions (among others) through displacement, disease, hunger including indirect disaster deaths.

In 2021, Ray-Bennett and Coetzee reviewed 20 years of data from the emergencies database (EM-DAT) for 25 countries of the Caribbean region. This paper identified the number of disasters, disaster deaths and people affected by disasters. In line with the decline of disaster deaths globally, the number of disaster deaths declined in the Caribbean region from 7,141 in the period 2001-2005 to 1,621 in the period 2016-2020 (Target A). On the contrary, the number of people affected by disasters had doubled when compared with the two periods 2001 to 2005 and 2016 to 2020 (Target B). This is a cause for concern as the affected people are pushed into poverty, ill health and homelessness, including indirect disaster deaths (Ray-Bennett and Coetzee, 2021; Ray-Bennett et al., 2022).

Currently, indirect disaster deaths are not documented. Indirect deaths are caused by ‘unsafe or unhealthy conditions that occur because of the disaster. These conditions include the loss or disruption of essential services (e.g., power outage, hazardous roads), personal loss, and disruption of an individual’s lifestyle’ (Combs et al., 1999, p.1125). Although data on indirect disaster deaths are a rarity, in Japan, it was found that there were 50 direct deaths and 212 indirect deaths in the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016 and 13 direct deaths and 224 indirect deaths in flooding in 2018 (Japan Times, 2019). Snakebites were the largest cause of indirect deaths in the 2007 floods in Bangladesh (Paul, 2021, quoted in Alirol et al., 2010). It is important to capture the number of indirect disaster deaths and the ‘causes and circumstances’ surrounding those deaths so that context-specific interventions can be put in place to save lives (Ray-Bennett et al., 2022; Ray-Bennett and Shiroshita, 2023).

In this light, ADN’s Global Campaign ‘International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths’ launched on 12 March 2023 is a way forward to increase knowledge towards:

  • indirect disaster deaths and missing persons and capture their impact on the lives and livelihoods of the deceased family members;
  • causes and circumstances that lead to disaster deaths so that context-specific interventions can be put in place to save lives (Jonkman and Kelman, 2005; Kelman, 2005; Paul, 2021); and
  • value the number of lives saved and the saved lives (Ray-Bennett and Shiroshita, 2023).

To conclude the MTR SF providesan excellent mid-point report to reflect and re-assess ADN’s activities as well as for others who are committed to reducing the number of disaster deaths and affected people from disasters (targets A and B). Furthermore, as the number of disaster deaths continue to decline and the number of affected people continue to increase (with implications for indirect disaster deaths), it is recommended that the UNDRR and UNDP focuses on increasing knowledge and methodology to document indirect disaster deaths and the causes and circumstances surrounding these deaths. Withoutthis,the UNDRR would continue to implement the first two targets as stocktaking exercises rather than bringing positive change at national and local levels. 


Combs, D.L., Quenemoen, L.E., Parrish, R.G., and Davis, J.H. (1999) ‘Assessing disaster-attributed mortality: development and application of a definition and classification matrix’, International Journal of Epidemiology, 1999(28): 1124-1129. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/28.6.1124

Jonkman, S.N. and Kelman, I. (2005) ‘An analysis of causes and circumstances of flood disaster deaths’, Disasters 29(1): 75-97. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0361-3666.2005.00275.x

Japan Times (2019) ‘Editorials: Indirect disaster deaths’, The Japan Times, 23 March.

Kelman, I. (2020) ‘Dying in earthquakes: A tale of umpteen tremors’. Psychology Today, 10 August. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/disaster-choice/202008/dying-in-earthquakes-tale-umpteen-tremors    

Paul, B.K. (2021) Disaster Deaths: Trends, causes and determinants. London: Routledge.

UNDRR (2023). The Report of the Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. UNDRR: Geneva, Switzerland.

Ray-Bennet, N.S. and Coetzee, J. (2021) ‘Disasters, Disaster Deaths and People Affected by Disasters in the Caribbean Region’. ADN Newsletter (ISSN 2435-2608), Issue 3. Available onlinehttps://www.avoidable-deaths.net/2021/12/22/updates-on-sendai-goals-1-and-2-2/

Ray-Bennett, N.S., Clarke, K., and Mendez, D. (2022) ‘Sendai Framework’s global targets A and B: Opinions from the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Ignite Stage 2019’, International Journal for Disaster Risk Science, 13(2022): 651-663. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13753-022-00432-3

Ray-Bennett, N.S. and Shiroshita, H. (2023) International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths (IAD4AD): Guidance for Campaigners. UK and Japan: Avoidable Deaths Network Publication

Authors’ Short Bio: Dr Nibedita S. Ray-Bennett is the Founding President and Convenor of the ADN and is an Associate Professor in Risk Management at the University of Leicester’s School of Business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *