What is the Earthquake Impact Database?

The beginning of Earthquake Impact Database

Several catalogs and databases of damaging earthquakes exist, mainly collected from disaster management companies or official sources, using official data or international news agencies. The Earthquake Impact Database (EID) is a private, not funded and non-profit project started in 2013. I started collecting damage information during the months of free time between my school graduation and the begin of university semester. With passing time other people from around the world started to join this project voluntarily and contributed to the data colletion. Additionally we have added more data and statistics that allow a better comparison of earthquake losses. But the unique selling point of the EID is its scope of data: About 300 damaging quakes per year are identified, ranging from those with minimal damage like cracked walls to massive disasters (Nepal 2015, Sulawesi 2018, etc.). For many of these quakes a rather detailed number of losses, damaged buildings and casualties can be provided. However, especially for smaller quakes in more rural locations, the sources do not allow any details. This is the point where the estimated numbers (written in Italic Style) are needed. We estimate these numbers basing on our experience, the described severity of the damage and the given circumstances (eq magnitude, population density, ect.). Estimated numbers are better than empty cells, giving at least an idea of the extent.

What are the sources?

The main sources for earthquake damage statistics are official disaster management agencies and trustworthy newspapers around the world. Especially for smaller quakes the main information sources are local newspapers who cover the situation, often based on information of local officials. Another source becomes important for small quakes in densely populated areas: The people. We scan platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Weibo for reliable witness reports that include photos and descriptions of earthquake effects. Additionally we use websites like earthquake-report.com where people can directly report earthquake effects, including possible damage.
All sources are linked as a note in the last column of the database. If one source is missing, please contact me.

How do we use the EID?

As written before I started to collect damage data for pure interest without any further intention. However, I am using these data mostly for eearthquake reporting on my websites www.erdbebennews.de and www.earthquake-report.com. In the past few years there was a growing number of people using the data for scientific or journalistic purposes. Therefore the Earthquake Impact Database was quoted in several papers including earthquake hazard studies and also in some large newspapers.

How can I use the data?

The Earthquake Impact Database is avaiable online as a Google Document for free. I want to keep it accessable for everybody as there are also many people who read the data for pure interest. If you want to use the data for a study or a project, you can extract them directly for the document. For further work I can provide you an Excel-File. Just write me a mail. I am also open for any kind of collaboration.

How to quote the Earthquake Impact Database?

You can keep it simple and quote it in your prefered style. But please link the original document, either on Google Drive, earthquake-report.com or erdbebennews.de.
Example: "Jens Skapski: Earthquake Impact Database (year[s]); https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AnxHjhgjGZ566qe8Jw2QrbMi-G3JXaoZa3B7CYeob8E"

How can I support the Earthquake Impact Database?

The database is still far away from being complete. There are very likely many more earthquakes that cause damage. But a low media coverage and also language problems can prevent us identifying this damage. If you know about a damaging earthquake that is not added to the Earthquake Impact Database yet, please let me know!
Otherwise you can also contribute to a cup of coffee, using the PayPal button on my other website: https://erdbebennews.de/spenden/