Skip to content

De Telegraaf Misled By UN Disaster Report Researcher

October 20, 2020

By Paul Homewood




You will all recall the latest UN report, which claimed there had been a massive rise in “reported disasters” in the last two decades, compared to the previous two.

The Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, published an article in response complaining that the UN were not comparing like with like, because many smaller disasters were simply never recorded in the past. They also published this reply from Joris van Loenhout, researcher at the Belgian Centre  for  Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters  (CRED):

“From about 1960-1970 onward, the completeness of the data is much greater, and the share of missing disasters much smaller. We are constantly working to improve completeness, and this is also happening for previous years and decades. For this reason, statements made in 2004 and 2006 are now somewhat outdated, as the completeness of the database has since improved,”

 I have now had time to analyse CRED’s database, EM-DAT, and have the figures to show that Loenhout has not been telling the truth.


In their 2004 report, “Thirty Years of Natural Disasters”, CRED included this table of the number of natural disasters:




Note that between 1979 and 1998, there was a total of 3973 disasters.


EM-DAT’s database now provides a tool to filter data. I have downloaded all natural disasters for 1979 to 1998, but excluding biological and extra-terrestrial. The 2004 report confirms that the same criteria has been used for the table above:



This is the spreadsheet from the download:




Note that this gives a total of 3986 disasters, just 13 more than were declared back in 2004.


This makes a nonsense of van Loenhout’s claims.  An extra 13 events, out of a total of over 4000 in twenty years, is nothing more than a tidying up, and can in no way be seen as “improving completeness”. Neither does it justify the assertion that CRED’s own statements in 2004, to the effect that data was far to incomplete then to make any meaningful comparison with now, “are now somewhat outdated, as the completeness of the database has since improved”.


Van Loenhout should withdraw his false statement without delay, and admit that the UN report is fatally flawed.

  1. October 20, 2020 1:59 pm

    The headline is ambiguous.

  2. October 20, 2020 2:25 pm

    Thank you for this analysis.
    Well done as usual.

    • October 21, 2020 5:03 am

      The problem is that climate change and its claimed horrors and therefore the urgency of climate action is the null hypothesis. In the kind of science we know it would have been the alternate hypothesis. This is the difference between science and religion.

  3. Bertie permalink
    October 20, 2020 2:50 pm

    Once more, Paul, you have comprehensively shredded the alarmist contention with straightforward, honest, data. I only wish that such properly-conducted research bore the fruit it deserves.

  4. October 20, 2020 3:10 pm

    It is disturbing to see people so brazen as to totally brush aside truth and put out the rubbish they do. It shows a lack of personal integrity to an amazing degree.

    It also shows the contempt they have for the general population. I am observing that those for which the elite have little regard are “getting it”. They may be able to rue the day when it is shown once and for all that “the king has no clothes”.

    Science is not the luxury of the elite. Actually it is based on curiosity and common sense investigated with integrity. We should stop giving so much credit to degrees and institutions instead of facts and proof.

  5. John189 permalink
    October 20, 2020 3:25 pm

    It is just possible that there is a growing fear of pushback by those of us who, from a philosophically sceptic position, dissect claims and submit them to rational evaluation. This is leading to ever more outlandish prophesies of imminent disaster and ever more feverish attempts to link other phenomena, from Covid-19 to wildfires, to “climate change”. When I read some of the “scientists say” claims I am amazed at the heights the hysteria is scaling, and wonder how long it can continue before the balloon deflates.

  6. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    October 20, 2020 4:23 pm

    Does the U.N. report encourage woke left-wing environmental panic?

    Then it is true, by post-modern definition. Any facts are irrelevant.. .

  7. Lez permalink
    October 20, 2020 7:26 pm

    Well done Paul. Keep up the good work.
    As Mr. Churchill would have said, “KBO”

  8. October 20, 2020 8:10 pm

    Paul you cant say – “Van Loenhout should withdraw his false statement without delay, and admit that the UN report is fatally flawed.”

    Don’t you know that Green Lies Matter.

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 20, 2020 10:42 pm

    I hope you have drawn this to the attention of the editor at De Telegraf. If they were prepared to run the story in the first place, they will surely be delighted to run it again with proof of the nonsense defence.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: