From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the professional wrestling tag team, see The Natural Disasters.
A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard (e.g., flood, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake, or landslide) that affects the environment, and leads to financial, environmental and/or human losses. The resulting loss depends on the capacity of the population to support or resist the disaster, and 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.
Land movement disasters
Notable avalanches include:
- The 1910 Wellington avalanche
- The 1954 Blons avalanches
- The 1970 Ancash earthquake
- The 1999 Galtür Avalanche
- The 2002 Kolka-Karmadon rock ice slide
- The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake
- The 2010 Haiti earthquake
- The 2010 Chile earthquake
- The 2010 Yushu earthquake
- The 2010 Pacaya Volcano ash disaster
An Earthquake is a sudden shake of the Earth’s crust caused by the tectonic plates colliding.The vibrations may vary in magnitude. The underground point of origin of the earthquake is called the "focus". The point directly above the focus on the surface is called the"epicenter". Earthquakes by themselves rarely kill people or wildlife. It is usually the secondary events that they trigger, such as building collapse, fires, tsunamis (seismic sea waves) and volcanoes, that are actually the human disaster. Many of these could possibly be avoided by better construction, safety systems, early warning and evacuation planning.Earthquakes are caused by the discharge of accumulated along geologic fault.
A lahar is a volcanic mudflow or landslide. The 1953 Tangiwai disaster was caused by a lahar, as was the 1985 Armero tragedy in which the town of Armero was buried and an estimated 23,000 people were killed.
Main article: Types of volcanic eruptions
See also: World’s largest eruptions
- An Eruption may in itself be a disaster due to the explosion of the volcano or the fall of rock but there are several effects that may happen after an eruption that are also hazardous to human life.
- Lava may be produced during the eruption of a volcano a material consisting of superheated rock. There are several different forms which may be either crumbly or gluey. Leaving the volcano this destroys any buildings and plants it encounters.
- Volcanic ash – generally meaning the cooled ash – may form a cloud, and settle thickly in nearby locations. When mixed with water this forms a concrete like material. In sufficient quantity ash may cause roofs to collapse under its weight but even small quantities will cause ill health if inhaled. Since the ash has the consistency of ground glass it causes abrasion damage to moving parts such as engines.
- Supervolcanoes : According to the Toba catastrophe theory 70 to 75 thousand years ago a super volcanic event at Lake Tobareduced the human population to 10,000 or even 1,000 breeding pairs creating a bottleneck in human evolution. It also killed three quarters of all plant life in the northern hemisphere. The main danger from a supervolcano is the immense cloud of ash which has a disastrous global effect on climate and temperature for many years.
- Pyroclastic flows consist of a cloud of hot volcanic ash which builds up in the air above under its own weight and streams very rapidly from the mountain burning anything in its path. It is believed that Pompeii] was destroyed by a pyroclastic flow.
Main article: List of floods
Some of the most notable floods include:
- The Huang He (Yellow River) in China floods particularly often. The Great Flood of 1931 caused between 800,000 and 4,000,000 deaths.
- The Great Flood of 1993 was one of the most costly floods in United States history.
- The 1998 Yangtze River Floods, also in China, left 14 million people homeless.
- The 2000 Mozambique flood covered much of the country for three weeks, resulting in thousands of deaths, and leaving the country devastated for years afterward.
- Bhola Cyclone, striking East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1970,
- Typhoon Nina, striking China in 1975,
- Tropical Storm Allison, which struck Houston, Texas in 2001 and
- Hurricane Katrina, which left most of New Orleans under water in 2005. Much of the flooding was due to the failure of the city’s levee system.
A limnic eruption occurs when a gas, usually CO2 suddenly erupts from deep lake water, posing the threat of suffocating wildlife, livestock and humans. Such an eruption may also cause tsunamis in the lake as the rising gas displaces water. Scientists believe landslides, volcanic activity, or explosions can trigger such an eruption. To date, only two limnic eruptions have been observed and recorded:
- In 1984, in Cameroon, a limnic eruption in Lake Monoun caused the deaths of 37 nearby residents.
- At nearby Lake Nyos in 1986 a much larger eruption killed between 1,700 and 1,800 people byasphyxiation.
- Ao Nang, Thailand (2004). The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake created the Boxing Day Tsunami and disaster at this site.
- Lituya Bay, Alaska (1953). A mega-tsunami occurred here, the largest ever recorded.
(This also fits within the "Land movement disaster" category because it started with an earthquake.)
- See also 2010 Chile earthquake
Main article: Meteorological disasters
Young steer after a blizzard, March 1966
Significant blizzards in the United States include:
- The Great Blizzard of 1888
- The Schoolhouse Blizzard earlier the same year
- The Armistice Day Blizzard in 1940
- The Storm of the Century in 1993
Cyclone, tropical cyclone, hurricane, and typhoon are different names for the same phenomenon a cyclonic storm system that forms over the oceans. The deadliest hurricane ever was the 1970 Bhola cyclone; the deadliest Atlantic hurricane was the Great Hurricane of 1780 which devastated Martinique, St. Eustatius and Barbados. Another notable hurricane is Hurricane Katrina which devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2005.
Well-known historical droughts include:
- 1900 India killing between 250,000 and 3.25 million.
- 1921-22 Soviet Union in which over 5 million perished from starvation due to drought
- 1928-30 northwest China resulting in over 3 million deaths by famine.
- 1936 and 1941 Sichuan Province China resulting in 5 million and 2.5 million deaths respectively.
- As of 2006, states of Australia including Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland had been under drought conditions for five to ten years. The drought is beginning to affect urban area populations for the first time.
- In 2006, Sichuan Province China experienced its worst drought in modern times with nearly 8 million people and over 7 million cattle facing water shortages.
Hailstorms (AKA hailstones) are rain drops that have formed together into ice. A particularly damaging hailstorm hit Munich, Germany, on July 12, 1984, causing about 2 billion of dollars in insurance claims.
The worst heat wave in recent history was the European Heat Wave of 2003.
A summer heat wave in Victoria, Australia, caused the massive bushfires in 2009.Melbourne experienced three days in a row of temperatures exceeding 40°C. The bushfire, otherwise known as "Black Saturday" was also started intentionally.
Main article: Tornado
Different Types of Tornadoes:
Main article: Supercell
Some of the most violent tornadoes develop from supercell thunderstorms. A supercell thunderstorm is a long-lived thunderstorm possessing within its structure a continuously rotating updraft of air. These storms have the greatest tendency to produce tornadoes, some of the huge wedge shape. The supercell thunderstorm has a low-hanging, rotating layer of cloud known as a "wall cloud." It looks somewhat like a layer of a layer cake that hangs below the broader cloud base. One side of the wall cloud is often rain-free, while the other is neighbored by dense shafts of rain. The rotating updraft of the supercell is seen on radar as a "mesocyclone."
The tornadoes that accompany supercell thunderstorms are more likely to remain in contact with the ground for long periods of time—an hour or more—than other tornadoes, and are more likely to be violent, with winds exceeding-200 mph.
Main article: Landspout
Generally weaker than a supercell tornado, a landspout is not associated with a wall cloud or mesocyclone. It may be observed beneath cumulonimbus or towering cumulus clouds and is the land equivalent of a waterspout. It often forms along the leading edge of rain-cooled downdraft air emanating from a thunderstorm, known as a "gust front."
Main article: Gustnado
Weak and usually short-lived, a gustnado forms along the gust front of a thunderstorm, appearing as a temporary dust whirl or debris cloud. There may be no apparent connection to or circulation in the cloud aloft. These appear like dust devils.
A waterspout is a tornado over water. A few form from supercell thunderstorms, but many form from weak thunderstorms or rapidly growing cumulus clouds. Waterspouts are usually less intense and causes far less damage. Rarely more than fifty yards wide, it forms over warm tropical ocean waters, although its funnel is made of freshwater droplets condensed from water vapor from condensation – not saltwater from the ocean. Waterspouts usually dissipate upon reaching land.
The following are tornado-like circulations
Main article: Dust devil
Dry, hot, clear days on the desert or over dry land can bring about dust devils. Generally forming in the hot sun during the late morning or early afternoon hours, these mostly harmless whirlwinds are triggered by light desert breezes that create a swirling plume of dust with speeds rarely over 70 mph. These differ from tornadoes in that they are not associated with a thunderstorm (or any cloud), and are usually weaker than the weakest tornado.
Typically, the life cycle of a dust devil is a few minutes or less, although they can last much longer. Although usually harmless, they have been known to cause minor damage. They can blow vehicles off the road and could damage your eyes by blowing dust into them.
Main article: Fire whirl
Sometimes the intense heat created by a major forest fire or volcanic eruption can create what is known as a firewhirl, a tornado-like rotating column of smoke and/or fire. This happens when the fire updraft concentrates some initial weak whirl or eddy in the wind. Winds associated with firewhirls have been estimated at over 100 mph. They are sometimes called fire tornadoes, fire devils, or even firenadoes.
Main article: List of forest fires
Wildfires are an uncontrolled fire burning in wildland areas. Common causes include lightning and drought but wildfires may also be started by human negligence or arson. They can be a threat to those in rural areas and also wildlife.
Nine elderly Russians have died in a blaze at a nursing home that may have been started by a resident setting himself on fire.The fire at the facility in Tver, northeast of Moscow, injured two others and forced the evacuation of some 480 people early on Monday,and investigators found a canister of flammable liquid in the room where the fire started, leading to speculation the resident set himself ablaze.
Health and diseases
Main article: List of epidemics
The A H5N1 virus, which causes Avian influenza
An epidemic is an outbreak of a contractible disease that spreads at a rapid rate through a human population. A pandemic is an epidemic whose spread is global. There have been many epidemics throughout history, such as Black Death. In the last hundred years, significant pandemics include:
- The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, killing an estimated 50 million people worldwide
- The 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic, which killed an estimated 1 million people
- The 1968-69 Hong Kong flu pandemic
- The 2002-3 SARS pandemic
- The AIDS epidemic, beginning in 1959
- The H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Pandemic 2009-2010
Other diseases that spread more slowly, but are still considered to be global health emergencies by the WHO include:
- XDR TB, a strain of tuberculosis that is extensively resistant to drug treatments
- Malaria, which kills an estimated 1.6 million people each year
- Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which has claimed hundreds of victims in Africa in several outbreaks
Main article: List of famines
In modern times, famine has hit Sub-Saharan Africa
Fallen trees caused by the Tunguska meteoroid of the Tunguska event in June 1908.
Gamma ray bursts
Main article: gamma ray burst
Main article: impact event
Main article: solar flare
- An X20 event on August 16, 1989
- A similar flare on April 2, 2001
- The most powerful flare ever recorded, on November 4, 2003, estimated at between X40 and X45
- The most powerful flare in the past 500 years is believed to have occurred in September 1859
Supernovae and hypernovae
Future of natural disasters
Natural disasters play a major role in the insurance industry, which pays for certain damages arising from hurricanes, wildfires, and other catastrophes. Large reinsurance companies are particularly involved.
- List of natural disasters
- Act of God
- Emergency management
- Environmental emergency
- Environmental disaster
- Magnitude and frequency principle
- Natural disasters in India
- South Asia Disaster Report (book)
- World Conference on Disaster Reduction
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List of natural disasters
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The following is a list of the most notable natural disasters by type.
Ten deadliest natural disasters
* Estimate by Nova’s sources are close to 4 million and yet Encarta’s sources report as few as 1 million. Expert estimates report wide variance.
An alternative listing is given by Hough in his 2008 book Global Security.
Ten deadliest natural disasters of the past century
1976 Tangshan earthquake
1920 Haiyuan earthquake
1991 Bangladesh cyclone
* Does not include industrial or technological accidents.
Lists of natural disasters
Main article: Blizzard
Great Blizzard of 1888
1993 North American Storm Complex
Hakko-da Mountains incident
Armistice Day Blizzard
2008 Chinese winter storms
1995 Kazakh Blizzard
Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978
See also: List of epidemics
Pandemics killing at least 1,000,000 people:
Other deadly communicable diseases. Death counts are historical totals unless indicated otherwise.
20th century – present
Main article: Tropical cyclone
1839 Indian cyclone
November 25, 1839
1882 Bombay cyclone
1922 Swatow Typhoon
August 1, 1922
1864 Calcutta Cyclone
October 5, 1864
Main article: List of earthquakes
- Please Note: Some of these famines may be partially or completely caused by humans.
Chinese Famine of 1907
Northern Chinese Famine
Chinese Famine of 1936
Chinese Drought 1941
Chinese Famine of 1928–1930
Floods and landslides
1887 Yellow River (Huang He) flood
1938 Yellow River (Huang He) flood
1935 Yangtze river flood
more than 100,000
St. Felix’s Flood, storm surge
1911 Yangtze river flood
St. Lucia’s flood, storm surge
North Sea flood, storm surge
31 December 1953
Main article: Heat wave
1988 United States heat wave
Southern India heat wave
Main article: Limnic eruption
Main article: Storm
Lofoten, Heavy storm
1996 Amarnath Yatra tragedy
Trøndelag, storm ("Follastormen")
Trøndelag, storm ("Titran disaster")
Columbus Day Storm
Haugesund, storm ("Røvær disaster")
Main article: Tornado
1973 Dhaka Tornado
The Comoro Tornado
See also: Historic tsunami
Main article: Volcano
See also: World’s largest eruptions
A supervolcanic eruption at Lake Toba around 74,000 years ago could have wiped out as much as 99% of the global human population, reducing the population from a possible 60 million to less than 10 thousand; see Toba catastrophe theory. However, this theory is not widely accepted because the evidence is disputed, and there have been, for instance, no remains found. The eruption is not listed here as it was pre-historic and outside the scope of this article. Also, the Thera eruption in the Aegean Sea between 1550 and 1650 BC may have caused a large number of deaths throughout the region, from Crete to Egypt. See also La Garita Caldera,Yellowstone Caldera, and Supervolcanoes.
Wildfires and bushfires
Black Dragon Fire
- List of all known deadly earthquakes since 1900
- List of natural disasters in Haiti
- Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents
- Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
Other lists organized by death toll
- List of wars and disasters by death toll
- List of accidents and disasters by death toll
- List of battles and other violent events by death toll
- List of disasters in Australia by death toll
- List of Canadian disasters by death toll
- List of New Zealand disasters by death toll
- List of United Kingdom disasters by death toll
- List of United States disasters by death toll
- Tsunamis in the United Kingdom
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- When Nature Attacks Newsweek
- World’s worst natural disasters since 1900
- USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
- EM-DAT: The International Disaster Database. Managed by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
- Emergency Management Australia, Disasters Database Report