Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in United States history
A disaster is the tragedy of a natural or human-made hazard (a hazard is a situation which poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment) that negatively affects society or environment.
In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of hazards and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability are not considered a disaster, 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 disasters occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural disasters are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.
A disaster can be defined as any tragic event that may involve at least one victim of circumstance, such as an accident, fire, or explosion.
Natural disasters
A natural disaster is the consequence when a natural hazard (e.g., volcanic eruption or earthquake) affects humans. Human vulnerability, caused by the lack of appropriate emergency management, leads to financial, environmental, or human impact. The resulting loss depends on the capacity of the population to support or resist the disaster: their resilience. This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability". A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without vulnerability, e.g., strong earthquakes in uninhabited areas. The term natural has consequently been disputed because the events simply are not hazards or disasters without human involvement.
Human-made disasters
Disasters caused by human action, negligence, error, or involving the failure of a system are called human-made disasters. Human-made disasters are in turn...