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Introduction To Disaster

by | Apr 14, 2022 | Disaster Management

What is Disaster?

According to the United Nations, a disaster disrupts a community’s or society’s functioning that involves extensive human, material, economic, or environmental repercussions that exceed the affected community’s or society’s ability to deal using its resources.

In simple words, A disaster is a natural or man-made occurrence that has a detrimental impact on human life, property, livelihood, or industry, frequently leading to long-term changes to human communities, ecosystems, and the environment.

Disasters are highly disruptive events that result in suffering, deprivation, hardship, injury, and even death due to direct injury or disease. The disruption of trade and commerce and the partial or complete damage of critical infrastructures such as houses and apartments, hospitals, and other public and private properties, roads, railways, and power lines, among other things.

Nearly every day, a tragedy strikes somewhere in the globe, yet the breadth, scale, and context of these disasters vary greatly. Large-scale disasters involving a large number of victims are uncommon.

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes, can occur naturally, or they can be caused by man-made events, which can be either unintentional (such as an unintentional hazardous leak or a nuclear power plant accident) or deliberate (such as a terrorist attack).

Natural disasters are getting more common, and the number of people affected is growing. This higher morbidity is due to a variety of factors, including population dynamics, geographic location, and susceptibilities.

Types of Disasters

There are many distinct forms of disasters that might occur. All of them, however, may be divided into two categories:

  1. Natural Disasters
  2. Man-Made Disasters

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are described as natural occurrence that occurs slowly or quickly and results in widespread devastation of human health, death, and misery.

Natural disasters are any type of severe weather condition that has the potential to endanger human as well as biodiversity health and safety. Also, causing damage to property, key infrastructure, and homeland security. Natural catastrophes strike on a seasonal and ad hoc basis, causing instability, disruption, and economic loss across the country.

When biological processes, such as rainfall exceed the usual limit, they might become natural catastrophes. The severity or scale of these disasters, as well as the extent of the range, length, and speed of onset, are all important elements to consider.

Winter storms, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and any combination of these are some of the most prevalent natural catastrophes.

Man-Made Disasters

In contrast to natural disasters caused by natural risks, man-made catastrophes include human purpose, neglect, or error involving a failure of a man-made system. Criminal attacks, civil unrest, arson, bombing, terrorism, biological/chemical threats, wars, and cyber-attacks are all examples of man-made disasters.

Human-made catastrophes include aspects of human intent, carelessness, or error, as well as the breakdown of a human-made system. Furthermore, natural resource disruptions can also result in man-made disasters. Terrorism, large-scale crime or mass violent occurrences, war, arson, civil disturbance, biological/chemical danger, reduction in consumption resources, and so on are some of the most prevalent examples of human-made disasters.

Details about disasters –

Causes of Disaster

The disasters fluctuate depending on when and where they occur. Every type of disaster has its own cause and reasons to originate. For example, a tsunami cannot be because of the same reason as those of an earthquake.

Soil erosion, earthquake activity, geological movements, air pressure, and ocean currents, among other factors, all contribute to Natural Disasters. The major causes of disasters are natural phenomena occurring in the earth’s crust as well as on the surface.

Areas, where mining, deforestation, and industry have occurred, are particularly vulnerable to flooding and erosion. Global Warming itself is the cause of many natural disasters like tsunamis, floods, forest fires, etc.

Human-caused catastrophes can occur for a variety of reasons. They might be caused by indiscriminate industrialization, overcrowding, growing consumerism, the use of dangerous substances or procedures, or simply numerous forms of mishaps. Man-made disasters are more likely to occur as a result of professional and public negligence, as well as ignorance.

Unintentional or unintended behaviour, such as inadequate maintenance, low-quality work, or a human mistake, might potentially result in a man-made disaster. Sabotage, mischief, revenge, rioting, mob wrath, or hostile attack, on the other hand, might emerge from purposeful, deliberate, and intentional behaviour.

Introduction To Disaster

Phases of Disaster

The four-phase model aids in the framing of catastrophe preparedness as well as economic and commercial recovery following a disaster. Each phase has its own set of requirements, tools, techniques, and resources, as well as unique problems.

Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery are the four phases of disaster response.


Mitigation entails taking actions to lessen vulnerability to disaster-related consequences such as injury, death, and property loss. This might include modifications to local construction rules to strengthen structures, improved zoning and land use management, public infrastructure upgrades, and other initiatives to make the place more resilient in the event of a disaster.


Preparedness is concerned with determining how a disaster can affect a community and how education, outreach, and training can help people respond to and recover from disasters. This might involve efforts like involving the business community, pre-disaster strategy planning, and other logistical preparations.


The immediate aftereffects of a disaster are when the response phase begins. Local business, sometimes even international affairs, and other operations like transport and communication are disrupted during the response phase. The amount of readiness determines personal safety and well-being in a disaster, as well as the length of the response phase.


The fourth phase of a catastrophe is recovery, which entails restoring all elements of the disaster’s impact on a community as well as restoring some sense of normality to the local economy. The impacted region has come to the point to attain a level of physical, economic, social, and environmental stability by this point.

Know more about phases of disaster –

Effects Of Disaster

In the phase of a disastrous event, People risk death or serious physical injury. We might potentially lose our house, many belongings, and sense of community, even a family. People are at extreme risk of both mental and physical health problems.

The stress reactions, which are common to happen that occur after a disaster, can be seriously traumatic, especially for the people suffering. Disasters bring a wide range of emotional and physical distress. You may also respond to post-traumatic challenges and triggers or memories of the trauma.

Short term effects:

  • Mortality is one apparent short-term consequence of dangers and shocks, but depending on the extent and kind of death, it might also have extremely important long-term implications.
  • The capital destruction of a disaster and the amount of land lost or damaged is the second most important metric.
  • The economic impact of catastrophes is the last indicator of their short-term material impact. Natural disasters can cause a temporary drop in GDP, resulting in an economic crisis.

Long term effects:

  • Disasters have been viewed as ‘good shocks’ that encourage economic transformation in some situations.
  • Disasters exhibited highly diverse degrees of population recovery and various degrees of economic recovery.
  • Hazards and shocks can cause economic resources to be redistributed.


Social Economics and Environmental Impact of Disasters

Extreme events routinely disrupt economic and social progress across the world. Although disasters affect both rich and developing countries, disasters in the latter might result in a significant rise in poverty.

The majority of economic analyses of catastrophe consequences have focused on direct losses or the financial cost of physical destruction. Disasters’ indirect and secondary effects, such as the devastation of communities and their detrimental effects on families, are equally essential.

Social Impact of Disasters

  • Natural disasters can have similar social effects in different types of communities, such as the need for rebuilding, urgent access to health care, simply finding shelter during/after a storm, food and water availability, turning to the government for assistance, or turning to religious organizations for assistance and moral support.
  • Extreme weather events have led to an increase in mental health concerns, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, chronic disease, and short-term unemployment.
  • In the immediate aftermath of an occurrence and over time, people may experience shock, dread, trepidation, wrath, and guilt. Personal, family, and community relationships will be strained due to trauma and sorrow.

Environmental Impact

  • Major floods have a wide range of consequences on river-floodplain ecosystems. Aside from devastation, the dynamic and wonderfully productive river-floodplain ecosystem is made up of flood-adapted animals and plants, seasonal flow and large floods, and a rich patchwork of floodplain habitats.
  • Great floods and droughts occur infrequently, which helps to preserve habitat and species variety.
  • Droughts, for example, damage water quality by altering salt concentrations, PH levels, and dissolved oxygen levels while raising water temperatures.
  • Storms and hurricanes wreak havoc on trees and animals, which is why they’re so bad for the ecosystem.



  • Sigma Earth

    The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.


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