The number of people killed in terror attacks worldwide has decreased by 44 percent since 2014, yet terrorism remains widespread and is even getting worse in some regions, according to The Global Terrorism Index for 2018 released on Wednesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace.
The Index ranked 138 countries based on the severity of terror attacks they suffered throughout 2017, and found that despite the trend of overall attacks decreasing, more than 18,000 people were killed in terror attacks last year.
“The total number of deaths fell by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. The overall trend of a decline in the number of deaths caused by acts of terror reflects the increased emphasis placed on countering terrorism around the world since the surge in violence in 2013,” read a press release from the think tank earlier this week.
The top five countries on the GTI has remained unchanged from the previous edition, with Iraq ranking No. 1, followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Pakistan.
The findings noted that the decline of the Islamic State terror group has played a big part in the decline in the number of terror attacks being committed since 2014.
Despite the losses sustained by IS, the Index warned that IS-affiliated groups are becoming more active.
“In the Maghreb and Sahel regions of Northern Africa, there has been a resurgence of terrorist activity in the past two years, most notably of al-Qa’ida. As of March 2018 there were more than 9,000 members of terrorist groups active in the region, mostly concentrated in Libya and Algeria,” it noted.
The report also does not include figures for 2018. Nigeria, No. 3 on the Index, in particular has suffered thousands of deaths this year alone, due to attacks on Christians from radicalized elements within the Fulani Muslim group.
Rounding out the top 10 were Somalia, India, Yemen, Egypt, and the Philippines.
The United States was also ranked highest among western countries on the Index, coming in at No. 20.
"In North America, the number of deaths from terrorism increased for the fourth successive year, rising from 65 deaths in 2016, to 85 deaths in 2017. Deaths rose in both the U.S. and Canada, with Canada having its second deadliest year since 1998 with six deaths," the report explained.
"In the U.S., total deaths rose from 64 to 86, primarily as the result of the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017 that killed 59 people. The number of incidents per year in North America has tripled in the past five years, with 61 recorded terrorist incidents in 2017, up from just 19 incidents in 2012," it added.
Europe, on the other hand, had the biggest percentage improvement, with total deaths from terrorism falling by 75 percent, especially in the nations of France, Germany and Belgium.
Overall there were 18,814 deaths due to terrorism recorded worldwide for 2017, which was the lowest level since 2013.
Still, the number of deaths remains significantly higher than a decade ago, and nearly three times as high as the number recorded for 2001, the Institute for Economics and Peace said.
The Index found that that the total global economic impact of terrorism measured in around $52 billion, though that represented a 42 percent decrease compared to 2016. The reported pointed out that the figures are conservative, however, as they did not account for the indirect impact on business, investment and the costs associated with security agencies.