2. Natural Hazards
|* Hazard is a threat. |
*A hazard is a dangerous physical
condition or event.
|*A Disaster is an event. It is a calamity or tragedy or a consequence of a hazard. |
*Natural hazards that cause great loss to human life and economy are called disasters and catastrophes. A disaster disrupts the normal function of a society.
|*Earthquakes, floods, volcanic erruption, landslides, droughts etc. are called natural hazards before they cause great loss of life and damage to property.||*It causes damage to property and loss of life but it also|
disrupts the opportunities of employment.
|*Small number of people are effected||*A large number of people are effected|
|*It may cause injury, loss of life or damage of property.||*It causes wide spread loss to life and property.|
|*Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunami, land slide, drought etc. are natural hazards.||*It affects the society to such an extent that external aid becomes sate the losses.|
- Every disaster is unique in terms of the local socio-environmental factors that control it, the social response it generates, and the way each social group negotiates with it.
- There are three observations on disasters which are as follows:
- The magnitude, intensity, frequency, and damages caused by natural disasters have increased over the years.
- There is a growing concern among people the world over to deal with the menace created by these so that the loss of human life and property can be minimized.
- Significant changes have taken place in the pattern of natural disasters over the years.
- Man has been bearing the brunt of natural disasters since ancient times. There are many disasters which man is unable to face or prevent from happening.
- They are destined to bring the tragic consequences of human destruction. Due to human intervention in the natural processes, the destructive power and frequency of natural disasters have increased considerably.
- According to UN statistics, natural disasters kill 1,00,000 persons on average and cause property damage worth billions of dollars per year. Among the top ten natural disaster-prone countries, India stands second after China.
- People used to correlate hazards and disasters. Areas prone to natural hazards were more vulnerable to disasters. Hence, people avoided tampering with the delicate balance that existed in a given ecosystem. People avoided intensification of their activities in such areas and that is how disasters were less damaging.
- With the advent of technology and the rise in population density in certain parts of the world, human beings tend to intensify their activities into disaster-prone areas increasing their vulnerability to disasters.
- Colonization of flood plains and seaward extension of port cities etc. make them vulnerable to the occurrence of floods, cyclones, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
|What is vulnerability?|
The vulnerability may be defined as “The extent to which a community, structure, services or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of a particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction, and proximity to hazardous terrains or a disaster-prone area.”
Vulnerabilities can be categorized into physical and socio-economic vulnerability. Disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability.
Practice the following Questions
Q-1 Disaster management is more than just reactive responses to crises, it is a complete process that needs a fresh look in light of frequent natural calamities. Examine
Q-2 There has to be a change from focussing only on managing natural disasters to improving resilience. Comment in the context of India’s preparedness for disasters and its disaster policy.