*DISASTER A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazards and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as is the case in uninhabited regions. Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries *TYPES OF DISASTERS Natural Types of Disasters A natural hazard is a natural process or phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage. Various phenomena like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, and cyclones are all natural hazards that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of habitat and property each year. 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 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, and poor or no budgetary allocation for disaster prevention, developing countries suffer more or less chronically from natural disasters. Asia tops the list of casualties caused by natural hazards. • • • • • • • Agricultural diseases & pests Damaging Winds Drought and water shortage Earthquakes Emergency diseases (pandemic influenza) Extreme heat Floods and flash floods • • • • • • • • Hurricanes and tropical storms Landslides & debris flow Thunderstorms and lighting Tornadoes Tsunamis Wildfire Winter and ice storms Sinkholes
Man-Made and Technological Types of Disasters Human-instigated disasters are the consequence of technological 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. Manmade disasters are examples of specific cases where man-made hazards have become reality in an event. • • • • Hazardous materials Power service disruption &blackout Nuclear power plant and nuclear blast Radiological emergencies • • • • Chemical threat and biological weapons Cyber attacks Explosion Civil unrest *EXTENT OF DISASTER The extent to which a population is affected by a calamity does not purely lie in the physical components of vulnerability, but is contextual also to the prevailing social and economic conditions and it’s consequential effect on human activities within a given society. Research in areas affected by earthquakes indicates that single parent families, women, handicapped people, children and the aged are particularly vulnerable social groups. The geophysical setting with unplanned and inadequate developmental activity is a cause for increased losses during disasters. In the case of India, the contribution of over-population to high population density, which in turn results in escalating losses, deserves to be noted. This factor sometimes tends to be as important as physical vulnerability attributed to geography and infrastructure alone. There has been an increase in the number of natural disasters over the past years, and with it, increasing losses on account of urbanization and population growth, as a result of which the impact of natural disasters is now felt to a larger extent. According to the United Nations, in 2001 alone, natural disasters of medium to high range caused at least 25,000 deaths around the world, more than double the previous year, and economic losses of around US $ 36 billion. These figures would be much higher, if the consequences of the many smaller and unrecorded disasters that cause significant losses at the local community level were to be taken into account. Devastations in the aftermath of powerful earthquakes that struck Gujarat, El Salvador and Peru; floods that ravaged many countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere; droughts that plagued Central Asia including Afghanistan, Africa and Central America; the cyclone in Madagascar and Orissa; and floods in Bolivia are global events in recent memory. However, what is disturbing is the knowledge that these trends of destruction and devastation are on the rise instead of being kept in check. *NATURAL CALAMITIES: LANDSLIDES AND AVALANCHES Landslides are very common indeed in the Lower Himalayas. The young age of the region's hills result in labile rock formations, which are susceptible to slippages. Rising population and
development pressures, particularly from logging and tourism, cause deforestation. The result is denuded hillsides which exacerbate the severity of landslides; since tree cover impedes the downhill flow of water. Parts of the Western Ghats also suffer from low-intensity landslides. Avalanches occurrences are common in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim. FLOODS IN INDIA Floods are the most common natural disaster in India. The heavy southwest monsoon rains cause the Brahmaputra and other rivers to distend their banks, often flooding surrounding areas. Though they provide rice paddy farmers with a largely dependable source of natural irrigation and fertilisation, the floods can kill thousands and displace millions. Excess, erratic, or untimely monsoon rainfall may also wash away or otherwise ruin crops. Almost all of India is floodprone, and extreme precipitation events, such as flash floods and torrential rains, have become increasingly common in central India over the past several decades, coinciding with rising temperatures. Mean annual precipitation totals have remained steady due to the declining frequency of weather systems that generate moderate amounts of rain. CYCLONES IN INDIA Intertropical Convergence Zone, may affect thousands of Indians living in the coastal regions. Tropical cyclogenesis is particularly common in the northern reaches of the Indian Ocean in and around the Bay of Bengal. Cyclones bring with them heavy rains, storm surges, and winds that often cut affected areas off from relief and supplies. In the North Indian Ocean Basin, the cyclone season runs from April to December, with peak activity between May and November. Each year, an average of eight storms with sustained wind speeds greater than 63 kilometres per hour (39 mph) form; of these, two strengthen into true tropical cyclones, which have sustained gusts greater than 117 kilometres per hour (73 mph). On average, a major (Category 3 or higher) cyclone develops every other year. During summer, the Bay of Bengal is subject to intense heating, giving rise to humid and unstable air masses that produce cyclones. Many powerful cyclones, including the 1737 Calcutta cyclone, the 1970 Bhola cyclone, the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone and the 1999 Odisha cyclone have led to widespread devastation along parts of the eastern coast of India and neighboring Bangladesh. Widespread death and property destruction are reported every year in exposed coastal states such as Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. India's western coast, bordering the more placid Arabian Sea, experiences cyclones only rarely; these mainly strike Gujarat and, less frequently, Kerala EARTHQUAKES An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by vibration, shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. Earthquakes are caused mostly by slippage within geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests. The underground point of origin of the earthquake is called the focus. The
point directly above the focus on the surface is called theepicenter. Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill people or wildlife. It is usually the secondary events that they trigger, such as building collapse, fires, tsunamis (seismic sea waves) and volcanoes, that are actually the human disaster. Many of these could possibly be avoided by better construction, safety systems, early warning and planning. VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS Volcanoes can cause widespread destruction and consequent disaster in several ways. The effects include the volcanic eruption itself that may cause harm following the explosion of the volcano or the fall of rock. Second, lava may be produced during the eruption of a volcano. As it leaves the volcano, the lava destroys many buildings, plants and animals due to its extreme heat . Third, volcanic ash generally meaning the cooled ash - may form a cloud, and settle thickly in nearby locations. When mixed with water this forms a concrete-like material. In sufficient quantity ash may cause roofs to collapse under its weight but even small quantities will harm humans if inhaled. Since the ash has the consistency of ground glass it causes abrasion damage to moving parts such as engines. The main killer of humans in the immediate surroundings of a volcanic eruption is the pyroclastic flows, which consist of a cloud of hot volcanic 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 was destroyed by a pyroclastic flow. A lahar is a volcanic mudflow or landslide. The 1953 Tangiwai disaster was caused by a lahar, as was the 1985 Armero tragedy in which the town of Armero was buried and an estimated 23,000 people were killed. 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 as a 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, 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. DROUGHTS Drought is the unusual dryness of soil, resulting in crop failure and shortage of water and for other uses which is caused by significant low rainfall than average over a prolonged period. Hot dry winds, shortage of water, high temperatures and consequent evaporation of moisture from the ground can contribute to conditions of drought. Well-known historical droughts include the 1997–2009 Millenium Drought in Australia led to a water supply crisis across much of the country. As a result, many desalination plants were built for the first time (see list). In 2011, the State of Texas lived under a drought emergency declaration for the entire calendar year and severe economic losses. The drought caused the Bastrop fires.