Disasters are a combination of hazards, conditions of vulnerability and insufficient
capacity or measures to reduce the negative consequences of risk. A hazard
becomes a disaster when it coincides with a vulnerable situation, when societies orcommunities are unable to cope with it with their own resources and capacities.
WHAT IS DISASTER?
Disaster is a sudden, calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, and destruction and devastation to life and property. The damage caused by disasters is immeasurable and varies with the geographical location, climate and the type of the earth surface/degree of vulnerability. This influences the mental, socio-economic, political and cultural state of the affected area. Generally, disaster has the following effects in the concerned areas,
1. It completely disrupts the normal day to day life
2. It negatively influences the emergency systems
3. Normal needs and processes like food, shelter, health, etc. are affected and deteriorate depending on the intensity
and severity of the disaster.
It may also be termed as “a serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources.”
Thus, a disaster may have the following main features:-
Thus, in simple terms we can define disaster as a hazard causing heavy loss to life, property and livelihood.
e.g. a cyclone killing 10,000 lives and a crop loss of one crore can be termed as disaster.
TYPES OF DISASTER
Generally, disasters are of two types – Natural and Manmade. Based on the devastation, these are further classified into major/minor natural disaster and major/minor manmade disasters. Some of the disasters are listed below,
Major natural disasters:
Minor natural disasters:
· Cold wave
· Heat waves
· Mud slides
Major manmade disaster:
Minor manmade disaster:
· Road / train accidents, riots
· Food poisoning
· Industrial disaster/ crisis
· Environmental pollution
Risk is a measure of the expected losses due to a hazardous event of a particular magnitude occurring in a given area over a specific time period. Risk is a function of the probability of particular occurrences and the losses each would cause. The level of risk depends on:
v Nature of the Hazard
v Vulnerability of the elements which are affected
v Economic value of those elements
It is defined as “the extent to which a community, structure, service, and/or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrain or a disaster prone area”
Hazards are defined as “Phenomena that pose a threat to people, structures, or economic assets and which may cause a disaster. They could be either manmasde or naturally occurring in our environment.”
The extent of damage in a disaster depends on:
1) The impact, intensity and characteristics of the phenomenon and
2) How people, environment and infrastructures are affected by that phenomenon