Man-made disasters

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Disasters portal

The main article for this category is anthropogenic hazard.


This category has the following 17 subcategories, out of 17 total.


Pages in category "Man-made disasters"

The following 9 pages are in this category, out of 9 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).


A Man Made Disasters Lie

Man made disasters occur when human actions lead to severe threats to safety and health, property, and the environment. The ultimate man made disaster is global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Man Made Disasters

Clearing mangrove swamps removes natural protection from cyclones and flooding. Excessive deforestation or cultivation, combined with heavy rain, leaves settlements vulnerable to landslides, soil erosion, water pollution and ultimately desertification. Accidental man made disasters include fire, industrial accidents, oil spills, transport disasters, and the spread ofcontagious diseases.
Deliberate man made disasters include acts of war or large-scale violence, terrorism, arson and destruction of property, and environmental pollution. War and violence can lead to societal collapse resulting in widespread hunger, disease, and suffering: Cambodia, Rwanda and the Congo are recent examples of these ‘complex emergencies’.


Anthropogenic hazard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  (Redirected from Man-made hazard)

An anthropogenic hazard is a threat having an element of human intent, negligence, or error, or involving a failure of ananthropogenic system. Anthropogenic disasters are disasters resulting from the same factors, as opposed to natural disastersresulting from natural hazards.

Sociological hazards


Main article: Crime

Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority (via mechanisms such as legal systems) can ultimately prescribe a conviction. Individual human societies may each define crime and crimes differently. While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime; for example: breaches of contract and of other civil law may rank as "offences" or as "infractions". Modern societies generally regard crimes as offenses against the public or the state, distinguished from torts (offenses against private parties that can give rise to a civil cause of action).

In context, not all crimes provide man-made hazards.


A building damaged by arson.

Main article: Arson

Arson is the criminal intent of setting a fire with intent to cause damage. The definition of arson was originally limited to setting fire to buildings, but was later expanded to include other objects, such as bridges, vehicles, and private property. Arson is the greatest cause of fires in data repositories. Sometimes, human-induced fires can be accidental: failing machinery such as a kitchen stove is a major cause of accidental fires.[1]

Civil disorder

Main articles: Civil disorder and Riot

Civil disorder is a broad term that is typically used by law enforcement to describe forms of disturbance. Although civil disorder does not necessarily escalate to a disaster in all cases, the event may escalate into general chaos. Rioting has many causes, from low minimum wage to racial segregation. And example of riots were those in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in 1965 and 1992. The 1992 riots, which started at the intersections of Florence and Normandie streets, started immediately after the Rodney King verdict was announced on live TV. Approximately 50 people died in the 1992 riots.


Main articles: Terrorism and Asymmetric warfare

Terrorism is a controversial term with multiple definitions. One definition means a violent action targeting civilians exclusively. Another definition is the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological goal. Under the second definition, the targets of terrorist acts can be anyone, including civilians, government officials, military personnel, or people serving the interests of governments. In the early 21st century, terrorism has been considered by some a constant threat to all people of the world, after the worst disaster of its kind struck on September 11, 2001 (known primarily as9/11).


Main article: War

War is conflict between relatively large groups of people, which involves physical force inflicted by the use of weapons. Warfare has destroyed entire cultures, countries, economies and inflicted great suffering on humanity. Other terms for war can include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action. Acts of war are normally excluded from insurance contracts and disaster planning.

Technological hazards

Industrial hazards

Industrial disasters occur in a commercial context, such as mining disasters. They often have an environmental impact.

Structural collapse

Structural collapses are often caused by engineering failures. Bridge failures may be caused in several ways, such as under-design (as in the Tay Rail Bridge), by corrosion attack (such as in the Silver Bridge), and by aerodynamic flutter of the deck (as in Galloping Gertie, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge). Failure of dams was not infrequent during the Victorian period, such as the Dale Dyke dam failure in Sheffield, England in the 1860s, causing the Great Sheffield Flood. Other failures include balcony collapses.

Power outage

Main article: Power outage

A power outage is an interruption of normal sources of electrical power. Short-term power outages (up to a few hours) are common and have minor adverse effect, since most businesses and health facilities are prepared to deal with them. Extended power outages, however, can disrupt personal and business activities as well as medical and rescue services, leading to business losses and medical emergencies. Extended loss of power can lead to civil disorder, as in the New York City blackout of 1977. Only very rarely do power outages escalate to disaster proportions, however, they often accompany other types of disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, which hampers relief efforts.

Electromagnetic pulses and voltage spikes from whatever cause can also damage electricity infrastructure and electrical devices.


A forest fire

Main articles: Bush fire, Fire, Mine fire, Wildfire, and Firestorm

See also Category: Fire disasters involving barricaded escape routes

Bush fires, forest fires, and mine fires are generally started by lightning, but also by human negligence or arson. They can burn thousands of square kilometers. If a fire intensifies enough to produce its own winds and "weather", it will form into a firestorm. A good example of a mine fire is the one near Centralia, Pennsylvania. Started in 1962, it ruined the town and continues to burn today. Some of the biggest city-related fires are The Great Chicago Fire, The Peshtigo Fire(both of 1871) and the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Casualties resulting from fires, regardless of their source or initial cause, can be aggravated by inadequate emergency preparedness. Such hazards as a lack of accessible emergency exits, poorly marked escape routes, or improperly maintained fire extinguishers or sprinkler systemsmay result in many more deaths and injuries than might occur with such protections.

Events like this have happened as the Australian Bush fires in 2009.

Hazardous materials
Radiation contamination

When nuclear weapons are detonated or nuclear containment systems are otherwise compromised, airborne radioactive particles (nuclear fallout) can scatter and irradiate large areas. Not only is it deadly, but it also has a long-term effect on the next generation for those who are contaminated. Ionizing radiation is hazardous to living things, and in such a case much of the affected area could be unsafe for human habitation. During World War II, United States troops dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities ofHiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, the radiation fallout contaminated the cities’ water supplies, food sources, and half of the populations of each city were stricken with disease. The Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belarus are part of a scenario like this after a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a meltdown in 1986. To this day, several small towns and the city of Chernobyl remain abandoned and uninhabitable due to fallout. In the 1970s, a similar threat scared millions of Americans when a failure occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania. The incident was fortunately resolved, and the area retained little contamination.

A number of military accidents involving nuclear weapons have also resulted in radioactive contamination, for example the 1966 Palomares B-52 crash and the 1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash.


Main article: CBRN

A catch-all initialism meaning Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. The term is used to describe a non-conventional terror threat that, if used by a nation, would be considered use of a weapon of mass destruction. This term is used primarily in the United Kingdom. Planning for the possibility of a CBRN event may be appropriate for certain high-risk or high-value facilities and governments. Examples include Saddam Hussein‘s Halabja poison gas attack on Kurds, the Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo and the preceding test runs in Matsumoto, Japan 100 kilometers outside of Tokyo,[2], and Lord Amherst giving smallpox laden blankets to Native Americans.[3].


Main article: Air disasters

An aviation incident is an occurrence other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft, which affects or could affect the safety of operations, passengers, or pilots. The category of the vehicle can range from a helicopter, an airliner, or a space shuttle. One of the more devastating events occurred in 1977 on the island of Tenerife of the Canary Islands, when miscommunications between and amongst air traffic control and an aircrew caused two fully loaded jets to collide on the runway, killing over 500 passengers.


Main article: Rail disasters

A railroad disaster is an occurrence associated with the operation of a passenger train which results in substantial loss of life. Usually accidents with freight (goods) trains are not considered disasters, unless they cause substantial loss of life or property. One of the more devastating rail disasters occurred in 2004 in Sri Lanka when 1,700 people died in the Queen of the Sea train accident. Other notable rail disasters are the 1989 Ufa accident in Russia which killed 574, and the 1917 Modane train accident in France which killed 540.

See also the list of train accidents by death toll.

Space disasters

Main article: Space accidents and incidents

Space disasters, either during operations or training, have killed around 20 astronauts and cosmonauts, and a much larger number of ground crew and civilians. These disasters include either malfunctions on the ground, during launch, or in orbit with technology, or of natural forces. Not all space disasters result in human fatalities, for example, unmanned orbiting satellites that drop to the Earth can incinerate and send debris spewing across the sky. One of the worst manned space disasters, the Space Shuttle Challengerexplosion of 1986, cost all of the lives on board. The shuttle exploded several seconds after taking off from the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Another example is the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated during a landing attempt over Texas in 2003, with a loss of all 7 astronauts on board. The debris field extended from as far as eastern New Mexico to Mississippi. An example of a space disaster killing nearby residents occurred on February 15, 1996, in Sichuan Province, China, when a Long March3B rocket crashed during takeoff. Then in 1960 also killed 126 when an R-16 ICBM exploded on the launch pad.

See also

See also Category: Man-made disasters


Categories: Hazards | Man-made disasters

Top 10: Man-Made Disasters

Humans are good at creating disasters, and throughout history we’ve rarely been afraid to prove it. Yet in crafting a top 10, the job of slotting one man-made disaster ahead of another begs an uncomfortable justification. The Exxon Valdez oil spill was a colossal disaster, beginning well before it ran aground and extending to poor decisions made during cleanup. But with a human death toll at zero, how can it rank higher than London’s killer fog that took the lives of 12,000?
Fortunately, a top 10 is a subjective survey. Excluding acts of war or terrorism as well as transportation disasters, the following presents the top 10 man-made disasters whose negative effects were most profoundly experienced by people and the environment that otherwise bore no responsibility for them.

Number 10
London’s killer fog

The winter of 1952 was a typically cold one for Londoners and many responded in typical fashion, burning coal in their furnaces. The smoke met the city’s iconic fog and together the air become even colder. Residents burned more coal. The air, heavy and stagnant, fell to street level and visibility suddenly dropped as a black fog descended on the city.
This killer fog, laden with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot, soon muffled London under near total darkness and was so pervasive it was even found among the book stacks of the British Museum. Just four days later it vanished, but the damage was done: Over the following months, the fog killed over 12,000 people.
In hindsight: Londoners, accustomed to the fog, apparently didn’t panic over it. But hospital wards were overrun with severely ill patients, and the smog killed 4,000 people alone during its four-day stay. And no one thought to send up an alarm?

Number 9
Al-Mishraq fire
On June 24, 2003, NASA satellites picked up a massive plume of smoke rising near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. When the fire was determined to be coming from the al-Mishraq state sulfur plant, scientists began to monitor it closely and what they discovered was shocking.
The fire, which burned for about a month, became responsible for releasing the most man-made sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere in history: More than 600,000 tonnes (1.3 billion tons), a little more than half the total sulfur dioxide released in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State.
In hindsight: Since sulfur dioxide was allegedly used by Napoleon to execute hundreds of thousands of slaves, and since it can wipe out crops, create respiratory problems and, when oxidized, lead to acid rain, a better effort should have been mounted to put this out.

Number 8
Jilin chemical plant explosions
The No.101 Petrochemical Plant in Jilin City, China, produced a significant amount of aniline, a chemical compound used to make dyes, polyurethane and even acetaminophen (Tylenol). They used benzene and nitrobenzene as solvents.
In November 2005, a series of huge explosions rocked the plant, killing six people at the outset. It further forced mass evacuations, after an 80 km-long toxic slick composed largely of benzene and nitrobenzene (known human carcinogens) developed in the Songhua River. Water contamination reached the Sea of Japan and forced city governments to shut off water supplies, inciting panic in a number of cities.
In hindsight: Accidents happen, but Chinese government secrecy prevented a better, faster response to the disaster.

Number 7
Yellowstone fires
In many areas similar to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Montana, fires are part of the game; they’re expected every dry season and monitored accordingly. But in the time leading up to the summer of 1988, authorities for Yellowstone neglected a number of indicators suggesting that the upcoming dry season could be disastrous, and that’s exactly what it was: When autumn snowfall finally arrived to effectively extinguish the fires, they burned almost 800,000 acres — or about one-third — of the entire park.
In hindsight: The previous winter had seen one-third the normal amount of snow fall on Yellowstone, and while spring dropped a good amount of rain, it only contributed to more growth that would die in the upcoming drought.

Coupled with the excessively low humidity, the forests were littered with the right kind of fuel to signify disaster.

Number 6
St. Francis dam disaster
America’s worst civil engineering failure began as a solution to the need to supply the residents of Los Angeles with water. The job of building an appropriate dam was left to the chief engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, a self-taught civil engineer named William Mulholland. During construction, Mulholland ruled with dictatorial power and continued to make adjustments to the dam’s design, creating a bigger and bigger reservoir behind the dam. What no one knew was that the rock on which the dam was built was entirely inadequate for the job.

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, and 12 hours after Mulholland had finished an inspection and declared it safe, the dam failed, unleashing 12 billion gallons (45 billion liters) of water onto the San Francisquito Canyon below. The death toll is estimated at around 600.
In hindsight: Inadequate rock aside, Mulholland’s dam design was not even up to the standards of the era, and he never should have been given so much control and allowed to be the only person overseeing design and construction.

Number 5
Minamata disease
In 1932, the Chisso Corporation in Minamata city on Japan’s Kyūshū Island began releasing a nasty toxic compound called methyl mercury into the waters of Minamata Bay.

For the next 24 years they dumped with impunity, until a young girl came forward with multiple symptoms affecting her central nervous system. By the end of 1956, an investigation uncovered 40 more cases, 14 of them already dead. Remarkably, while the source was under investigation, the Chisso factory began dumping the methyl mercury into a nearby river, poisoning everyone and everything downstream.

To date, the death toll stands at almost 1,800 people.
In hindsight: People had been seeing feral cats that ate fish scraps from the bay seem to lose their minds and die for years and years prior to the discovery of the source. While Chisso’s egregious behavior is shocking, Japanese society at the time didn’t show victim support. Rather, victims were discriminated against in the same manner as the so-called Hibakusha, sickened survivors of the atomic bombs.

Number 4
Castle Bravo
In March 1954, the United States detonated a thermonuclear weapon in the Pacific code-named Castle Bravo. They expected it would yield no more than eight megatons of energy [to express the amount of energy released by nuclear weapons, science uses an equivalent amount of TNT, i.e. 1 megaton = 1 billion kg (2.2 billion pounds) of TNT]. Confident in their math, they lit the fuse.
Instead, Bravo yielded 15 megatons, 1,000 times stronger than the bomb that smashed Hiroshima. It unleashed a three-mile wide fireball and its enormous mushroom cloud went 130,000 feet high and 62 miles in diameter. The excessive yield, coupled with high winds, dispersed nuclear fallout over inhabited islands and fishing boats, and much of the area remains contaminated to this day.
In hindsight: It might have benefited everyone if, before detonating a hydrogen bomb, someone would have double-checked the math and perused the chemistry. Instead, the arms race with the USSR had priority.

Number 3
Workers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Northern Ukraine were in the process of running some tests when, just like a nuclear chain reaction, things began to go wrong in disastrous succession. It all culminated in a steam explosion in the Number 4 reactor, which was powerful enough to blow the roof off. Nuclear meltdown followed in the form of added explosions and a terrible fire. In an instant, Chernobyl assumed every nuclear nightmare from the past 50 years and became a byword for “meltdown.”
The explosions and fires sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere. Soviet secrecy prevents an accurate death toll, but an estimated 6.6 million people were exposed to ghastly levels of radioactive contaminate and untold thousands continue to suffer the effects, from birth defects to cancer.

Despite this disaster, two of the three other reactors at the Chernobyl plant remained in operation until 2000 (the Number 2 reactor was shut down following a fire in 1991).
In hindsight: Today, blame for the meltdown is placed on either poor reactor design or human error. Not unlike Castle Bravo, it’s hard not to wish that both countries would have been less concerned with each other and more concerned with their own people.

Number 2
Exxon Valdez

The oil tanker Exxon Valdez left Valdez, Alaska, at around 9 p.m. on March 23, 1989, loaded with 53 million barrels of crude oil for delivery to the lower 48 states. At 11 p.m. or so, ship captain Joseph Hazelwood retired to his cabin, evidently exhausted from the two-hour shift. He left the ship to an officer who was not certified to pilot [his own ass] through notoriously difficult Prince William Sound.

Just after midnight on March 24th, the officer showed why he wasn’t certified, running Valdez aground onto a huge, well-charted reef. The stranded tanker spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Sound, contaminating the water, hundreds of miles of coastline and beaches, and every individual ecosystem within a massive area.
In hindsight: Captain Hazelwood’s New York State driver’s license was revoked at the time of the disaster due to multiple drunk driving arrests. Now, just because you aren’t allowed to drive a car, it doesn’t automatically mean you can’t pilot an oil tanker, but it may indicate a problem with wider implications, such as sleeping on the job or poor discretion in delegating authority.

Number 1
Bhopal (Union Carbide)
In 1969, a subsidiary of chemical powerhouse Union Carbide Corporation built a pesticides plant in the middle of Bhopal, India, a city of over 900,000 people. Over the next 15 years, massive slums grew around the plant, which was home to thousands of the city’s most destitute.
In the early morning of December 3, 1984, a tank holding over 40 tonnes of extremely toxic methyl isocynate (MIC) overheated and released the heavier-than-air gas. It rolled along the ground like a poisonous foggy avalanche. Thousands were killed almost instantly and panic erupted as others were choked and temporarily blinded.
To date, history’s worst industrial disaster has killed as many as 20,000 people, and another 120,000 still suffer from a variety of hideous health problems

In hindsight: The local government should have prevented the establishment of sprawling slums so close to the plant, but Union Carbide shoulders most of the responsibility. By opening a plant in India, the U.S. company was saving hundreds of millions of dollars; yet in the years leading up to the disaster they found countless ways to cut expenses. The result was diminished quality control, compromised safety regulations, under-trained employees, and broken equipment.

Deadly disasters
George Santayana famously wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Past mistakes are available for all of us to study, but history shows we’ve typically shown very little interest in their application.


And Now there a New on bigger then them all