US Media Spoke More About Harvey Than Floods Elsewhere – but So Did Media Elsewhere

August was an agonising month for weather disasters around the globe. Relentless floods in South Asia took over 1,200 lives and displaced another 41 million in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Sierra Leone was rocked by its worst natural disaster, with mudslides burying a 1,000displacing another 2,000, and hundreds still missing. In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that over 110,000 had fled their homes in the state of Benue due to intense flooding. And in Houston, Texas, 70 were killed and 30,000 ousted as Hurricane Harvey swept away homes and devastated the city and its surrounding areas.

Of these four major disasters, the magnitude of devastation in terms of those dead and displaced was highest in South Asia, followed by Nigeria, Houston and then Sierra Leone. The South Asian floods killed more than 17-times the number of people in Houston and displaced more than 1,366 times the population.

However, when looking at media coverage across over 1,500 English-language news publications from different countries around the world, Hurricane Harvey received five-times as much coverage as the three countries in South Asia combined, 25-times as much as Nigeria and 10-times as much as Sierra Leone.

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