natural disaster
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A natural disaster is a major
adverse event An adverse event (AE) is any untoward medical occurrence in a patient or clinical investigation subject administered a pharmaceutical product and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with this treatment. An adverse event (AE) can ...
resulting from natural processes of the
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...
; examples include
firestorm A firestorm is a conflagration A conflagration is a large and destructive fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemi ...
s,
duststorm A dust storm, also called sandstorm, is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions. Dust storms arise when a Outflow boundary, gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Fine particles ...

duststorm
s,
flood A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide (U.S.), low tide occurs roughly at moonrise and high tide with a high Moon, co ...

flood
s,
hurricane A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with oc ...

hurricane
s,
tornado A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclon ...

tornado
es,
volcanic eruption Several types of volcanic eruptions—during which lava, tephra (Volcanic ash, ash, lapilli, volcanic bombs and volcanic blocks), and assorted gases are expelled from a Volcano, volcanic vent or fissure vent, fissure—have been distinguished ...

volcanic eruption
s,
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that ...
s,
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater exp ...

tsunami
s,
storm A storm is any disturbed state of an Natural environment, environment or in an astronomical body's Celestial body atmosphere, atmosphere especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by significant disr ...

storm
s, and other geologic processes. A natural disaster can cause loss of life or damage property, and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake, the severity of which depends on the affected population's
resilience Resilience, resilient, resiliency, or ''variation'', may refer to: Science Ecology * Ecological resilience In ecology, resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to respond to a perturbation or disturbance by resisting damage and recovering ...
and on the infrastructure available. In modern times, the divide between natural, man-made and man-accelerated is quite difficult to draw with human choices like architecture, fire, resource management or even
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known event ...
potentially playing a role. An adverse event will not rise to the level of a disaster if it occurs in an area without
vulnerable Vulnerable may refer to: General *Vulnerability *Vulnerability (computing) *Vulnerable adult *Vulnerable species Music Albums *Vulnerable (Marvin Gaye album), ''Vulnerable'' (Marvin Gaye album), 1997 *Vulnerable (Tricky album), ''Vulnerable'' (T ...
population. In a vulnerable area, however, such as Nepal during the 2015 earthquake, an adverse event can have disastrous consequences and leave lasting damage, which can take years to repair. The disastrous consequences also impact the mental health of effected communities often leading to post-traumatic symptoms. These increased emotional experiences can be supported through collective processing, leading to resilience and increased community engagement.


Geological disasters


Avalanches and landslides

A
landslide The term landslide or, less frequently, landslip refers to several forms of mass wasting that may include a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated slope failures, mudflows, and debris flows. Landslides occur in a vari ...

landslide
is described as an outward and downward slope movement of an abundance of slope-forming materials including rock, soil, artificial materials, or a combination of these. During
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "The war to end war, the war ...

World War I
, an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers died as a result of
avalanche An avalanche (also called a snowslide) is a rapid flow of snow down a Grade (slope), slope, such as a hill or mountain. Avalanches can be set off spontaneously, by such factors as increased precipitation or snowpack weakening, or by external me ...
s during the mountain campaign in the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerl ...

Alps
at the front. Many of the avalanches were caused by artillery fire.


Earthquakes

An
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that ...
is the result of a sudden release of energy in the
Earth's crust 350px, Plates in the crust of Earth Earth's crust is a thin shell on the outside of Earth, accounting for less than 1% of Earth's volume. It is the top component of the lithosphere, a division of Earth's layers that includes the Crust (geology), ...
that creates
seismic wave Seismic waves are waves of energy In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its M ...
s. At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by vibration, shaking, and sometimes displacement of the ground. Earthquakes are caused by slippage within geological faults. The underground point of origin of the earthquake is called the seismic
focus FOCUS is a fourth-generation programming language (4GL) computer programming programming language, language and development environment that is used to build database queries. Produced by Information Builders Inc., it was originally developed for d ...
. The point directly above the focus on the surface is called the
epicenter The epicenter, epicentre () or epicentrum in seismology is the point on the Earth's surface directly above a hypocenter, hypocenter or focus, the point where an earthquake or an underground explosion originates. Surface damage In most earthqua ...

epicenter
. Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill people or wildlife — it is usually the secondary events that they trigger, such as building collapse, fires,
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater exp ...

tsunami
s and volcanic eruptions, that cause death. Many of these can possibly be avoided by better construction, safety systems, early warning and planning.


Sinkholes

When natural erosion, human mining or underground excavation makes the ground too weak to support the structures built on it, the ground can collapse and produce a
sinkhole A sinkhole, also known as a cenote, sink, sink-hole, swallet, swallow hole, or doline (the different terms for sinkholes are often used interchangeably), is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface lay ...

sinkhole
. For example, the 2010 Guatemala City sinkhole, which killed fifteen people, was caused when heavy rain from Tropical Storm Agatha, diverted by leaking pipes into a
pumice Kutkhiny Baty, a pumice rock formation outcrop located 4 km from the source of the Ozernaya River (Lake Kurile), near the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. Pumice (), called pumicite in its powdered or dust form, is a volcanic ...

pumice
bedrock, led to the sudden collapse of the ground beneath a factory building.


Volcanic eruptions

Volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet ar ...

Volcano
es can cause widespread destruction and consequent disaster in several ways. One hazard is the
volcanic eruption Several types of volcanic eruptions—during which lava, tephra (Volcanic ash, ash, lapilli, volcanic bombs and volcanic blocks), and assorted gases are expelled from a Volcano, volcanic vent or fissure vent, fissure—have been distinguished ...
itself, with the force of the explosion and falling rocks able to cause harm.
Lava of pāhoehoe lava, Hawaii, United States , Iceland in 1984 Lava is molten Rock (geology), rock (magma) that has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon. Magma is generated by the inte ...

Lava
may also be released during the eruption of a volcano; as it leaves the volcano, it can destroy buildings, plants and animals due to its extreme heat. In addition,
volcanic ash , Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), con ...
may form a cloud (generally after cooling) and settle thickly in nearby locations. When mixed with water, this forms a concrete-like material. In sufficient quantities, ash may cause roofs to collapse under its weight. Even small quantities will harm humans if inhaled — it has the consistency of ground glass and therefore causes laceration to the throat and lungs. Volcanic ash can also cause abrasion damage to moving machinery such as engines. The main killer of humans in the immediate surroundings of a volcanic eruption is pyroclastic flows, consisting of a cloud of hot ash which builds up in the air above the volcano and rushes down the slopes when the eruption no longer supports the lifting of the gases. It is believed that
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is ...

Pompeii
was destroyed by a pyroclastic flow. A
lahar , 1989 A lahar (, from jv, ꦮ꧀ꦭꦲꦂ) is a violent type of mudflow A mudflow or mud flow is a form of mass wasting Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil Soil (often st ...
is a volcanic mudflow or landslide. The 1953
Tangiwai disaster The Tangiwai disaster occurred at 10:21 p.m. on 24 December 1953 when a railway bridge over the Whangaehu River collapsed beneath an express passenger train at Tangiwai, North Island, New Zealand. The locomotive and first six carriages der ...
was caused by a lahar, as was the 1985
Armero tragedy Image:Armerotragedy2.png, upright=1.2, Lahars covered the town of Armero. More than 20,000 people were killed. The Armero tragedy ( es, Tragedia de Armero, links=no ) occurred following the eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz stratovolcano in Toli ...
in which the town of Armero was buried and an estimated 23,000 people were killed. Volcanoes rated at 8 (the highest level) on the
Volcanic Explosivity Index The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) is a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions. It was devised by Chris Newhall of the United States Geological Survey The United States Geological Survey (USGS, formerly simply Geologi ...
are known as
supervolcano A supervolcano is a large volcano that has had an eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) is a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions. It was devised by Chris Newhall of the Unite ...
es. According to the
Toba catastrophe theory The Youngest Toba eruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred around 75,000 years ago at the site of present-day Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. It is one of the Earth's List of largest volcanic eruptions, largest known explosive erupt ...
, 75,000 to 80,000 years ago, a supervolcanic eruption at what is now
Lake Toba Lake Toba ( id, Danau Toba) is a large natural lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards ...

Lake Toba
in
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands of western Indonesia. It is the largest island that is fully within Indonesian territory, as well as the list of islands by area, sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 (182,812 mi.2), not ...

Sumatra
reduced the human population to 10,000 or even 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a bottleneck in human evolution, and killed three-quarters of all plant life in the northern hemisphere. However, there is considerable debate regarding the veracity of this theory. The main danger from a supervolcano is the immense cloud of ash, which has a disastrous global effect on climate and temperature for many years.


Duststorms

Duststorm is a spread of dust in arid areas.


Hydrological disasters

A hydrological disaster is a violent, sudden and destructive change either in the quality of Earth's water or in the distribution or movement of water on land below the surface or in the atmosphere.


Floods

A
flood A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide (U.S.), low tide occurs roughly at moonrise and high tide with a high Moon, co ...

flood
is an overflow of water that 'submerges' land. The EU
Floods Directive The Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC) is legislation in the European Parliament on the assessment and management of flood risks. The floods directive basically prescribes a three-step procedure: First step: Preliminary Flood Risk Assessmen ...
defines a flood as a temporary covering of land that is usually dry with water. In the sense of 'flowing water', the word may also be applied to the inflow of the
tides (U.S.), low tide occurs roughly at moonrise and high tide with a high Moon, corresponding to the simple gravity model of two tidal bulges; at most places however, the Moon and tides have a phase shift. Tides are the rise and fall of sea leve ...

tides
. Flooding may result from the volume of a body of water, such as a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water ...

river
or
lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a Depression (geology), basin, surrounded by land, and set apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the World Ocean, oc ...

lake
, becoming higher than usual, causing some of the water to escape its usual boundaries. While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, a flood is not considered significant unless the water covers land used by humans, such as a village, city or other inhabited area, roads or expanses of farmland.


Tsunami

A tsunami (plural: tsunamis or tsunami; from Japanese: 津波, lit. "harbour wave"; English pronunciation: /tsuːˈnɑːmi/), also known as a seismic sea wave or tidal wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Tsunamis can be caused by undersea earthquakes such as the
2004 Boxing Day tsunami The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami and, by the scientific community, the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake) occurred at 07:58:53 in local time ( UTC+7) on 26 December, with an epicentre The epicent ...
, or by landslides such as the one in 1958 at Lituya Bay, Alaska, or by volcanic eruptions such as the ancient eruption of Santorini. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami occurred near Fukushima, Japan and spread through the Pacific Ocean.


Limnic eruptions

A
limnic eruption A limnic eruption, also known as a lake overturn, is a rare type of natural disaster in which dissolved carbon dioxide () suddenly erupts from deep lake waters, forming a gas cloud capable of suffocating wildlife, livestock, and humans. A limnic er ...

limnic eruption
, also known as a lake overturn, occurs when a gas, usually , suddenly erupts from deep lake water, posing the threat of suffocating wildlife, livestock and humans. Such an eruption may also cause
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater exp ...

tsunami
s in the lake as the rising gas displaces water. Scientists believe that
landslides The term landslide or, less frequently, landslip refers to several forms of mass wasting Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil Soil (often stylized as SOiL) is an American roc ...
, explosions or
volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet ar ...

volcanic
activity can trigger such an eruption. To date, only two limnic eruptions have been observed and recorded. In 1984, in
Cameroon Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Cen ...

Cameroon
, a limnic eruption in
Lake Monoun Lake Monoun is a lake in West Province, Cameroon, that lies in the Oku Volcanic Field. On August 15, 1984, a limnic eruption occurred at the lake, which resulted in the release of a large amount of carbon dioxide that killed 37 people. At fir ...

Lake Monoun
caused the deaths of 37 nearby residents; at nearby
Lake Nyos Lake Nyos ( ) is a crater lake Crater Lake (Klamath language, Klamath: ''Giiwas'') is a Volcanic crater lake, crater lake in south-central Oregon in the western United States. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous ...
in 1986, a much larger eruption killed between 1,700 and 1,800 people by
asphyxiation Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of deficient supply of oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodi ...
.


Meteorological disasters


Tropical cyclone

Typhoon A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops between 180° and 100th meridian east, 100°E in the Northern Hemisphere. This region is referred to as the Tropical cyclone basins#Northwestern Pacific Ocean, Northwestern Pacific Basin, a ...

Typhoon
,
cyclone In meteorology, a cyclone () is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure, counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere as viewed from above (opposite to an ...

cyclone
,
cyclonic storm In meteorology, a cyclone () is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure, counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere as viewed from above (opposite to an ...
and
hurricane A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with oc ...

hurricane
are different names for the same phenomenon: a
tropical storm A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with oc ...
that forms over an ocean. It is characterized by strong winds, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The determining factor on which term is used is based on where the storm originates. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term "hurricane" is used; in the Northwest Pacific, it is referred to as a "typhoon"; a "cyclone" occurs in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. The deadliest hurricane ever was the 1970 Bhola cyclone; the deadliest Atlantic hurricane was the
Great Hurricane of 1780 The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as Huracán San Calixto, the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, the Great Hurricane of the West Indies, and the 1780 Disaster, was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is ...
, which devastated Martinique, St. Eustatius and Barbados. Another notable hurricane is
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive Category 5 Atlantic hurricane A Category 5 Atlantic hurricane is a tropical cyclone that reaches Category 5 intensity on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, within the Atlantic Ocean to ...
, which devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005. Hurricanes may become more intense and produce more heavy rainfall as a consequence of human-induced
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known event ...
.


Blizzards

Blizzards are severe
winter storm A winter storm is an event in which wind coincides with varieties of precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on ...
s characterized by heavy snow and strong winds. When high winds stir up snow that has already fallen, it is known as a
ground blizzard Ground blizzard refers to a weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. On Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun ...
. Blizzards can impact local economic activities, especially in regions where snowfall is rare. The
Great Blizzard of 1888 The Great Blizzard of 1888, Great Blizzard of '88, or the Great White Hurricane (March 11–14, 1888) was one of the most severe recorded blizzards in American history. The storm paralyzed the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay The Chesapeake ...
affected the United States, when many tons of wheat crops were destroyed. In Asia, the 1972 Iran blizzard and the 2008 Afghanistan blizzard, were the deadliest blizzards in history; in the former, an area the size of Wisconsin was entirely buried in snow. The 1993 Storm of the Century, 1993 Superstorm originated in the Gulf of Mexico and traveled north, causing damage in 26 American states as well as in Canada and leading to more than 300 deaths.


Hailstorms

Hailstorms are precipitation in the form of ice that does not melt before it hits the ground. Hailstones usually measure between in diameter. A particularly damaging hailstorm hit Munich, Germany, on July 12, 1984, causing about $2 billion in insurance claims.


Ice storms

An ice storm is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least of ice on exposed surfaces.


Cold waves

A cold wave, known in some regions as a cold snap or cold spell, is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by a cooling of the air. Specifically, as used by the U.S. National Weather Service, a cold wave is a rapid fall in temperature within a 24-hour period, requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce and social activities. The precise criterion for a cold wave is determined by the rate at which the temperature falls and the minimum to which it falls. This minimum temperature is dependent on the geographical region and time of year.


Heat waves

A heat wave is a period of unusually and excessively hot weather. The worst heat wave in recent history was the European Heat Wave of 2003. A summer heat wave in Victoria, Australia, created conditions which fuelled the massive 2009 Victorian bushfires, bushfires in 2009. Melbourne experienced three days in a row of temperatures exceeding 40 °C (104 °F), with some regional areas sweltering through much higher temperatures. The bushfires, collectively known as "Black Saturday", were partly the act of arsonists. The 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer resulted in severe heat waves which killed over 2,000 people. The heat caused hundreds of wildfires which led to widespread air pollution and burned thousands of square kilometers of forest.


Droughts

Drought is the unusual dryness of soil caused by levels of rainfall significantly below average over a prolonged period. Hot and dry winds, shortage of water, high temperatures and consequent evaporation of moisture from the ground can also contribute to conditions of drought. Droughts result in crop failure and shortages of water. Well-known historical droughts include the 1997–2009 2000s Australian drought, Millennium Drought in Australia which led to a water supply crisis across much of the country. As a result, many desalination plants were built for the first time (List of desalination plants in Australia, see list). In 2011, the State of Texas lived under a drought emergency declaration for the entire calendar year and suffered severe economic losses. The drought caused the Bastrop County, Texas, Bastrop fires.


Thunderstorms

Severe storms, dust clouds and volcanic eruptions can generate lightning. Apart from the damage typically associated with storms, such as winds, hail and flooding, the lightning itself can damage buildings, ignite fires and kill by direct contact. Especially deadly lightning incidents include a 2007 strike in Ushari Dara, a remote mountain village in northwestern Pakistan, that killed 30 people; the crash of LANSA Flight 508 which killed 91 people; and a fuel explosion in Dronka, Egypt, caused by lightning in 1994 which killed 469 people. Most deaths from lightning occur in the poorer countries of the Americas and Asia, where lightning is common and adobe mud brick housing provides little protection.


Tornadoes

A
tornado A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclon ...

tornado
is a violent and dangerous rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud, or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. It is also referred to as a ''twister'' or a ''cyclone'', although the word
cyclone In meteorology, a cyclone () is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure, counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere as viewed from above (opposite to an ...

cyclone
is used in meteorology in a wider sense to refer to any closed low pressure area, low pressure circulation. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes but typically take the form of a visible funnel cloud, condensation funnel, the narrow end of which touches the Earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds of less than , are approximately across, and travel a few kilometers before dissipating. The 1999 Bridge Creek – Moore tornado, most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than , stretch more than across, and stay on the ground for perhaps more than .


Fire-storms

Firestorms are produced in events associated with extreme heat such as intense forest fires or volcanic eruptions. Local weather conditions may also cause local wind vortices creating a phenomenon known as a Fire whirl, fire tornado.


Wildfires

Wildfires are large fires which often start in wildland areas. Common causes include lightning and drought but wildfires may also be started by human negligence or arson. They can spread to populated areas and thus be a threat to humans and property, as well as wildlife. Notable wildfires include the 1871 Peshtigo Fire in the United States, which killed at least 1700 people, and the 2009 2009 Victoria bushfires, Victorian bushfires in Australia.


Space disasters


Impact events and airburst

Asteroids that impact the Earth have led to several major extinction events, including one which created the Chicxulub crater 64.9 million years ago and is associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs. Scientists estimate that the likelihood of death for a human from a global impact event is comparable to the probability of death from an airliner crash. No human death has been definitively attributed to an impact event, but the 1490 Ch'ing-yang event in which over 10,000 people may have died has been linked to a meteor shower. Even asteroids and comets that burn up in the atmosphere can cause significant destruction on the ground due to the air burst explosion; notable air bursts include the Tunguska event in June 1908, which devastated of Siberian countryside, and the Chelyabinsk meteor on 15 February 2013, which caused widespread property damage in the city of Chelyabinsk and injured about 1,200 people.


Solar flare

A solar flare is a phenomenon in which the Sun suddenly releases a much larger amount of solar radiation than normal. Solar flares are unlikely to cause any direct human injury but can destroy electrical equipment. The potential of solar storms to cause disaster was seen during the 1859 Solar storm of 1859, Carrington event, which disrupted the telegraph network, and the March 1989 geomagnetic storm which Power outage, blacked out Quebec. Some major known solar flares include the X20 event on August 16, 1989, and a similar flare on April 2, 2001. The most powerful flare ever recorded occurred on November 4, 2003 (estimated at between X40 and X45).


Protection by international law

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was formed by United Nations General Assembly, General Assembly Resolution 44/182. Under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters." The 1998 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and 2009 Kampala Convention also protect people displaced due to natural disasters.


Location

According to the UN, Asia-Pacific is the world's most disaster prone region. According to ReliefWeb, a person in Asia-Pacific is five times more likely to be hit by a natural disaster than someone living in other regions.


Impacts on vulnerable groups


Women

Because of the social, political and cultural context of many places throughout the world, women are often disproportionately affected by disaster. In the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, more women died than men, partly due to the fact that fewer women knew how to swim. During and after a natural disaster, women are at increased risk of being affected by gender based violence and are increasingly vulnerable to sexual violence. Disrupted police enforcement, lax regulations, and displacement all contribute to increased risk of gender based violence and sexual assault. Women who have been affected by sexual violence are at a significantly increased risk of sexually transmitted infections, unique physical injuries and long term psychological consequences. All of these long-term health outcomes can prevent successful reintegration into society after the disaster recovery period. In addition to LGBT people and immigrants, women are also disproportionately victimised by religion-based scapegoating for natural disasters: fanatical religious leaders or adherents may claim that a deity, god or gods are angry with women's independent, freethinking behaviour, such as dressing 'immodestly', having sex or abortions. For example, Hindutva party Hindu Makkal Katchi and others blamed Entry of women to Sabarimala, women's struggle for the right to enter the Sabarimala temple for the August 2018 Kerala floods, purportedly inflicted by the angry god Ayyappan. After an List of earthquakes in 2019#September, earthquake struck on 26 September 2019 near Istanbul, Turkey, Islamism, Islamists blamed the disaster on women, and harassed random women in the streets; a similar Islamist backlash against women occurred after the 1999 İzmit earthquake. In response to Iranian Islamic cleric Kazem Seddiqi's accusation of women dressing immodestly and spreading promiscuity being the cause of earthquakes, American student Jennifer McCreight organised the Boobquake event on 26 April 2010: she encouraged women around the world to participate in dressing immodestly all at the same time while performing regular seismographic checks to prove that such behaviour in women causes no significant increase in earthquake activity. During and after natural disasters, routine health behaviors become interrupted. In addition, health care systems may have broken down as a result of the disaster, further reducing access to contraceptives. Unprotected intercourse during this time can lead to increased rates of childbirth, unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Methods used to prevent STIs (such as condom use) are often forgotten or not accessible during times surrounding a disaster. Lack of health care infrastructure and medical shortages hinder the ability to treat individuals once they acquire an STI. In addition, health efforts to prevent, monitor or treat HIV/AIDS are often disrupted, leading to increased rates of HIV complications and increased transmission of the virus through the population. Pregnant women are one of the groups disproportionately affected by natural disasters. Inadequate nutrition, little access to clean water, lack of health-care services and psychological stress in the aftermath of the disaster can lead to a significant increase in maternal morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, shortage of healthcare resources during this time can convert even routine obstetric complications into emergencies. During and after a disaster, women's prenatal, peri-natal and postpartum care can become disrupted. Among women affected by natural disaster, there are significantly higher rates of low birth weight infants, preterm infants and infants with low head circumference.


Political consequences

Disasters stress government capacity, as the government tries to conduct routine as well as emergency operations. Some theorists of voting behavior propose that citizens update information about government effectiveness based on their response to disasters, which affects their vote choice in the next election. Indeed, some evidence, based on data from the USA, reveals that incumbent parties can lose votes if citizens perceives them as responsible for a poor disaster response or gain votes based on perceptions of well-executed relief work. The latter study also finds, however, that voters do not reward incumbent parties for disaster preparedness, which may end up affecting government incentives to invest in such preparedness. Other evidence, however, also based on the USA, finds that citizens can simply backlash and blame the incumbent for hardship following a natural disaster, causing the incumbent party to lose votes. One study in India finds that incumbent parties extend more relief following disasters in areas where there is higher newspaper coverage, electoral turnout, and literacy --- the authors reason that these results indicate that incumbent parties are more responsive with relief to areas with more politically-informed citizens who would be more likely to punish them for poor relief efforts. Violent conflicts within states can exacerbate the impact of natural disasters by weakening the ability of states, communities and individuals to provide disaster relief. Natural disasters can also worsen ongoing conflicts within states by weakening the capacity of states to fight rebels. In Chinese and Japanese history, it has been routine for era names or capital cities and palaces of emperors to be changed after a major natural disaster, chiefly for political reasons such as association with hardships by the populace and fear of upheaval (i.e. in East Asian government chronicles, such fears were recorded in a low profile way as an unlucky name or place requiring change).


Statistics

Between 1995 and 2015, according to the UN's disaster-monitoring system, the greatest number of natural disasters occurred in America, China and India. In 2012, there were 905 natural disasters worldwide, 93% of which were weather-related disasters. Overall costs were US$170 billion and insured losses $70 billion. 2012 was a moderate year. 45% were meteorological (storms), 36% were hydrological (floods), 12% were climatological (heat waves, cold waves, droughts, wildfires) and 7% were geophysical events (earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). Between 1980 and 2011 geophysical events accounted for 14% of all natural catastrophes. According to 2019 World Health Organization, WHO report countries with the highest share of disability-adjusted life years (Disability-adjusted life year, DALY) lost due to natural disasters are The Bahamas, Bahamas, Haiti, Zimbabwe and Armenia (probably mainly due to 1988 Armenian earthquake, Spitak Earthquake).


See also

* Act of God * Civil defense * Disaster risk reduction * Emergency management * Environmental disaster * Environmental emergency * List of environmental disasters * Natural hazard * Urban Search and Rescue * World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction * Wild animal suffering


References


External links

* * * US news site focused on disaster-related news. * Includes country profiles, disaster profiles and a disaster list. * *
Natural hazard research
from Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC {{DEFAULTSORT:Natural Disaster Natural disasters,