Spatial Information and Geocoding

Standards for Administrative Regions

Country Codes (ISO-3)

In the EM-DAT Public Table, the ISO column indicates a 3-letter (alpha-3) code representing a specific country, e.g., “BEL” for Belgium. This code is presented according to the international standard ISO-3166 determined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Due to historical changes in the countries’ denomination or boundaries, you may find country codes that are not found in the current ISO 3166 alpha-3 country codes. These extensions are listed in the table below.

Country codes are particularly useful to link the EM-DAT tabular data to a spatial layer using a Geographic Information System (GIS), spatial database, or geoprocessing programming library.

United Nations M49 Standard Country or Area Codes

The UN M49, also known as the Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use (Series M, No. 49), is a set of area codes formulated by the United Nations for data analytics. This standard is curated and upheld by the United Nations Statistics Division. The UN M49 alpha-3 codes largely overlaps with the ISO-3166 alpha-3 norm.

From September 2023 onward, the EM-DAT Public Table refers to the Country, Region, and Subregion names as found in the UN M49 standard. Codes used for the EM-DAT extensions to the ISO alpha-3 codes and UNM49 are listed in the table below.

Alpha-3 Code Country Name Region Subregion
ANT Netherlands Antilles Americas Latin America and the Caribbean
AZO Azores Islands Europe Southern Europe
CHA Channel Islands Europe Western Europe
CSK Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Eastern Europe
DDR German Democratic Republic Europe Western Europe
DFR Germany Federal Republic Europe Western Europe
SCG Serbia Montenegro Europe Southern Europe
SPI Canary Islands Africa Northern Africa
SUN Soviet Union Europe Eastern Europe
YMD People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen Asia Western Asia
YMN Yemen Arab Republic Asia Western Asia
YUG Yugoslavia Europe Southern Europe
TWN Taiwan (Province of China) Asia Eastern Asia

GAUL Index and Admin Levels

Since 2014, EM-DAT has relied on the Global Administrative Unit Layers (GAUL) implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). EM-DAT provides loss statistics at the country level, which corresponds to GAUL Admin-0 level. In addition, the EM-DAT Public Table mentions in the Admin Units column which region is affected by the disaster up to the Admin-2 level (e.g., districts). The mapping of EM-DAT disaster events at this higher level of geographical precision has only been completed for data since 2000. Nevertheless, the Admin-0 human and economic impact variables at the country level are not disaggregated between regions at the Admin-1 or Admin-2 level. Hence, only the occurrence is available at a more precise administrative level, and the impact variables remain representative of the country level.