A disaster is a serious disruption occurring over a short or long period of time that causes widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

Types of Disaster
  • Geophysical (e.g. Earthquakes, Landslides, Tsunamis and Volcanic Activity)
  • Hydrological (e.g. Avalanches and Floods)
  • Climatological (e.g. Extreme Temperatures, Drought and Wildfires)
  • Meteorological (e.g. Cyclones and Storms/Wave Surges)
  • Biological (e.g. Disease Epidemics and Insect/Animal Plagues)
Top 11 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History
  • 1138 Aleppo earthquake – maybe. (Image credit: Print Collector/Getty)
  • 2010 Haiti quake. (Image credit: Danny Alvarez/Shutterstock)
  • 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
  • 1920 Haiyuan earthquake.
  • 1976 Tangshan earthquake.
  • 526 Antioch earthquake.
  • 1839 India cyclone/1881 Haiphong typhoon.
  • 1556 Shaanxi earthquake.
What disasters happened in 2020?
  • 2020 North American Wildfire Season. September 11, 2020.
  • 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. September 11, 2020.
  • Beirut Explosion. September 10, 2020.
  • Sudan Flooding. September 9, 2020.
  • Venezuelan Humanitarian and Refugee Crisis. September 7, 2020.
  • Southern Border Humanitarian Crisis.
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus.
  • U.S. Civil Unrest.

What are the characteristics of disaster?
A disaster can be defined as an event that occurs in most cases suddenly and unexpectedly, causing severe disturbances to people or objects affected by it, and resulting in loss of life and harm to the health of the population, the destruction or loss of community property, and/or severe damage to the environment.

What causes disaster?
There are natural disasters, such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or tsunami (a big surge of water from the ocean), that happen because of the weather or other natural conditions. People also can cause disasters, like causing an oil spill that pollutes the environment or starting a forest fire.


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