Topics: Hazard, Emergency management, Natural disaster Pages: 5 (839 words) Published: January 9, 2013

A disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard resulting in an event of substantial extent

causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment. A

disaster can be ostensively defined as any tragic event stemming from events such as earthquakes,

floods, catastrophic accidents, fires, or explosions. It is a phenomenon that can cause damage to life and

property and destroy the economic, social and cultural life of people.

In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk.

These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in

areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as is the case in uninhabited regions.[1]

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths

caused by disasters occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural disasters are 20 times

greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.[2][3]

Natural disaster
Main article: Natural disaster

A natural disaster is a consequence when a natural hazard affects humans and/or the built environment.

Human vulnerability, and lack of appropriate emergency management, leads to financial, environmental, or

human impact. The resulting loss depends on the capacity of the population to support or resist the

disaster: their resilience. This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when

hazards meet vulnerability". A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without


Various phenomena like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods and cyclones are all natural

hazards that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of habitat and property each year.

However, natural hazards can strike in unpopulated areas and never develop into disasters. However, the

rapid growth of the world's population and its increased concentration often in hazardous environments

has escalated both the frequency and severity of natural disasters. With the tropical climate and unstable

land forms, coupled with deforestation, unplanned growth proliferation, non-engineered constructions which

make the disaster-prone areas more vulnerable, tardy communication, poor or no budgetary allocation for

disaster prevention, developing countries suffer more or less chronically by natural disasters. Asia tops

the list of casualties due to natural disasters.
Airplane crashes and terrorist attacks are examples of man-made disasters: they cause pollution, kill

people, and damage property. This example is the September 11 attacks in 2001 at the World Trade

Center in New York.
Man-made disasters
Main article: Man-made disasters

Man-made disasters are the consequence of technological or human hazards. Examples include

stampedes, fires, transport accidents, industrial accidents, oil spills and nuclear explosions/radiation. War

and deliberate attacks may also be put in this category. As with natural hazards, man-made hazards are

events that have not happened, for instance terrorism. Man-made disasters are examples of specific

cases where man-made hazards have become reality in an event.

Who does what in a disaster

As soon as a disaster occurs, a disaster management team is formed. This consists of the local mayor

and representatives of the fire service, medical and municipal services, police, army and other public


The team takes key decisions on how to respond to the disaster. All these decisions are recorded in a

logbook. The roles and responsibilities of each of the parties represented are described below. Mayor

The mayor is responsible at the administrative level...
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