After the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is adopted, a global database as a tool to monitor disaster loss and damage databases is required. Several disaster loss and damage databases are in use globally. This paper aims to explore how the existing databases vary in three aspects of threshold, spatial resolution, and data quality control, as well as the limitations of the existing databases. We review previous studies comparing the existing global databases and extract the differences and limitations. The threshold of EM-DAT is clear, but its threshold results in ignoring small-scale disasters that DesInventar captures. The differences in disaster threshold create different pictures of disaster losses and/or risks. Regarding spatial resolution, only DesInventar provides disaster impact data at a municipal level, while others provide information at a country level. The limitations of the existing global database are categorized into four aspects, as follows: lack of disaggregated data, limited spatial coverage and resolution, insufficiency of completeness and reliability of data, and insufficient information on indirect loss. The implication from our findings is that, in order to complement the limitations of the existing disaster loss databases to use for decision making on disaster risk reduction, the following are required: cross-checking of data across different databases; complementary disaster loss data; and collection of an exhaustive and firsthand dataset with a transparent and internationally consistent methodology by policy makers.
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