Researchers have created the most comprehensive database of crowd-related deaths and injuries ever compiled and hope it will improve safety at mass gatherings around the world.
The directory contains details of 281 major global incidents that occurred between 1900 and 2019 and resulted in at least one death or injury to 10 people.
“India and, to a lesser extent, West Africa, appear to be hot spots for road traffic accidents. These are fast-growing regions with rapid population growth and infrastructure struggling to keep up with the influx of people from rural to urban areas.” areas,” said Milad Haghani of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia.
“Northern India in particular is a densely populated area with strong religious traditions that lead to people congregating in the millions within a short period of time,” Haghani said in a statement.
A study published in the journal Safety Science found that nearly 70 percent of accidents that occurred in India between 2000 and 2019 were related to religious events.
Many of these accidents happened near rivers or in areas near water, according to the researchers, including those from the University of Tokyo in Japan.
Accidents often occurred on bridges – which act as a bottleneck – at ferry terminals or on riverbanks where people enter the water only to later reverse their course, creating a complex and conflicting movement pattern.
However, train stations or transport terminals were also often the scene of disasters in the region, they said.
“I think the issues we see from the data in India, where there are a lot of accidents around religious holidays, are mostly about financial constraints,” Haghani said.
“They know these deadly mob events are happening and they know they should be doing more, but they probably don’t have access to the same money and the same technology that is available in richer countries,” he added.
Haghani also noted that there is a difference in the level of knowledge in terms of crowd safety at religious festivals compared to sporting events. Apart from India, other areas that have seen numerous fatal incidents in the past few years include Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Overall, serious crowd accidents worldwide have increased dramatically over the past 20 years, from an average of about three a year between 1990 and 1999 to nearly 12 a year between 2010 and 2019, the researchers said.
They acknowledged that some of these numbers may be due to the growth of the internet and social media, which ensures that incidents are more frequent.
“In the last 20 years alone, about 8,000 people have been killed and more than 15,000 injured in crowd accidents,” Haghani said.
“Over time, the share of sporting events in crowd accidents decreased and instead religious gatherings appeared more prominently in the statistics,” the researcher added.
written by: Vaishali verma