Natural Hazards and Disaster Management: An Overview

Rahul Choudhary, Neeru Sharma

Abstract


The United Nations defines disaster as the occurrence of sudden or major misfortune which disrupts the basic fabric and normal functioning of the society or community”. Disasters are as old as human history but the dramatic increase and the damage caused by them in the recent past have become a cause of national and international concern. Over the past decade, the number of natural and manmade disasters has climbed inexorably. The biggest rise has been in the countries of low human development, which suffered an increase of approximately 142 per cent.A disaster is a serious disruption, occurring over a relatively short time, of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss 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 in the case of uninhabited regions.Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95percent 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. This paper discusses the basic concepts of natural hazards and disaster management.


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