A natural disaster is a name given to all those phenomena of nature that leave serious consequences for human life, that is, those that leave material losses, such as the total destruction of a city during an earthquake or human losses during the fact, of the other hand, those natural events that do not cause this type of damage are only phenomena and are not considered as disasters.
At present, a large number of news of natural disasters are consistently observed, such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, storms, and earthquakes, among others.
What Is a Natural Disaster?
It corresponds to all those events that are part of nature but that during their development leave material and human damage in many cases in a catastrophic way. Natural disasters in the world have caused great commotion and are becoming more common, because of this civilizations are prepared to a greater degree through information campaigns about natural disasters.
From the etymological point of view, the term disaster comes from the union of the Latin prefix “dis” that corresponds to the separation or division of something, along with the word “star” of the star. While the natural has its origin in the Latin “naturalis” which refers to the birth of something.
Characteristics of natural disasters
These types of events, unlike ecological or environmental disasters, occur spontaneously without the direct intervention of man. Among the most common causes can be found the following:
- Drought or very strong hot seasons can cause wildfires.
- The sudden encounter of hot and cold air is the cause of the formation of tornadoes.
- Heavy rains can cause flooding.
- However, there are a number of causes that are related to human beings, such as environmental pollution, exploitation of natural resources, and the construction of buildings in high-risk areas, which contribute to climate change and therefore the frequency of presentation of phenomena.
Although natural disasters in the world are unpredictable, you should always be well alert and prepared, due to the increase in the incidence of them, which is due in principle to climate change, whose damages and alterations are less likely to reverse every day.
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Types of Natural Disasters
There is a great variety of natural disasters, and the presence of each one is in direct relation to the geographical and climatic characteristics of each area. Among the main types are:
It is known as the natural detachment of parts of a material composed mainly of rocks, sand, earth, sediments, and snow, among others, and whose collapse can be responsible for great damage to civilizations, this, in turn, can occur in two ways:
It corresponds to the detachment and displacement of a superficial but considerable layer of snow, which is directed in a downward direction at high speeds and which has the ability to destroy structures in its path. In fact, among the natural disaster films, one of the most popular features is the name “Avalanche, Disaster in the Mountain,” released in 2020.
These occur when there is an imbalance at the level of slopes or inclined areas consisting mainly of land. One of the most common causes is that it occurs during heavy rains, a variant of this phenomenon is the well-known mudslides, which are produced by the excessive accumulation of water in relation to the earth or rocks of the place.
They are all those events and phenomena that act at the level of the atmosphere and that bring as a consequence variations at the level of the climate and the formation of climatic phenomena risky for humanity, among these can be mentioned the following:
It refers to the presence of a prolonged period of heat, which can also be accompanied by an excess of humidity, this brings a consequence of environmental damage with the development of forest fires, to damage the level of the world economy.
These are natural phenomena formed by the union of strong winds, electric charges, and heavy precipitation sometimes accompanied by snow or hail, which are produced by the interaction between areas of low atmospheric pressure surrounded by areas of high pressure, initiating the formation of strong gusts of wind.
Periods during which the amount of water available in certain geographical areas is not sufficient to meet the needs usually occur after the scarcity of rainfall and puts at risk the water supply for people, animals, and even the vegetation and ecosystem in general.
It is the formation of strong winds that rotate in what is known as counterclockwise and are always accompanied by heavy rainfall, they are considered a violent form of tropical storms, these are formed at tropical sea level as a result of the evaporation of water.
It corresponds to a phenomenon that forms in certain areas on the surface of the sea, which constitutes a kind of funnel that is directed upwards until it comes into contact with a cloud, these can be of two tornadic and non-tornadic types, the latter being the most common.
It refers to the formation of winds at strong speeds and intensity, accompanied by precipitation in the form of rain, snow, or hail, the latter usually occurs in climates with temperatures below 0 degrees.
They are considered the strongest or most violent form of the storm in nature, it is a kind of funnel or column formed by air that has its origin at the level of a thunderstorm and is directed towards the earth’s surface.
The term refers to the abrupt emission or exit of solid, gaseous, or liquid material through an opening. In the case of eruptions related to natural phenomena there are two types:
It corresponds to the expulsion of magma and gases violently from the interior of the earth to the surface by means of volcanoes.
It is a very rare phenomenon in which accumulated carbon dioxide erupts from the depths of a lake, putting at risk the lives of living beings that are nearby, as the intensity of the gaseous eruption increases, tsunamis can form inside the lake.
Biological natural disasters
These correspond to those events that have an impact on the health of the population and that have as their origin alterations or situations of interaction uncommon in the animal kingdom, characteristic examples of these would be pandemics, such as avian influenza or the recently known in 2020 COVID-19.
This natural disaster refers to the presence and accumulation of water in areas that are usually dry, this occurs mainly in those regions near rivers or water sources, and usually originates after heavy rainfall, when the amount of water exceeds the drainage limits of the rivers themselves.
Forest fires can be caused naturally as a result of heat waves and drought or can be caused by human actions, when they occur in regions near buildings, the fire can reach them because it has a rapid advance and produces irreparable damage.
The event occurred by the release of energy in the form of waves after the shock of tectonic plates, this natural disaster occurs on land and is capable of destroying entire cities depending on their magnitude, which is measured through the well-known Richter scale, which places them between 1 and 12, the latter being the one with the greatest strength, based on the intensity of its waves.
It is known by this name as the formation of large waves that advance at an approximate speed of 50km/ h in the direction of the coast and is produced mainly by seismic events or volcanic eruptions in the depths of the sea.
Consequences of natural disasters
The main consequences of a natural disaster can be divided into two types in general, the first corresponds to injuries and loss of human life, in many of these events a considerable number of people die and many others are left with injuries that can leave sequelae permanently.
Secondly, it is a hard blow to the economy of nations, because with the destruction of buildings and infrastructures the investment that governments must generate is millionaire, in addition to the loss of schools, universities, and hospitals there is a great delay at the level of education and public health. Images of natural disasters and their consequences can be found on the Internet since thanks to technology there are currently records of all these events.
Prevention of natural disasters
Governments can through a series of actions help in the prevention of this type of event, starting with information campaigns on natural disasters, but in addition to this certain strategies are required, such as:
- The construction of bunkers or shelters can be useful in case of a catastrophe.
- Maintain a correct study and control of natural phenomena to have knowledge about which sites have a greater probability of a catastrophic event occurring.
- Avoid granting building permits in spaces or places with a high probability of being destroyed in the face of events of this type.
- Try to reduce as much as possible the environmental pollution, by industries and citizens in general.
Nowadays thanks to advances in technology it is possible to predict the arrival or behavior of some of these events of nature, especially those related to atmospheric changes, as is the case of storms or tornadoes, and this is thanks to specialized satellites, however other types remain unpredictable, in the particular case of earthquakes, although there are ways to determine where one will occur, it is impossible to know exactly when it will occur.
As for individual prevention actions, these focus more on being prepared for any emergency in case of a natural disaster, basically, they are recommendations as to how to act, how to protect yourself, and how to survive in this type of situation, including the fact of keeping in strategic areas bags with food and useful tools in case of catastrophes.
Examples of natural disasters
There are a large number of recent and ancient natural disasters that left their mark on civilizations, some of the most significant examples that can be observed on the Internet through the search images of natural disasters, are the following:
- Hurricane Katrina in the United States (2005)
- Japan Tsunami (2011)
- The Heat Wave in Europe (2003)
- Earthquake in Haiti (2010)
- Ecuador earthquake (2016)
Natural disasters in Mexico
In this country in general you can name three catastrophes that left really significant material and human losses, these are:
- The earthquake in Mexico (1985)
- Hurricane Paulina (1997)
- Hurricane Odile (2014)
Frequently Asked Questions about Natural Disasters
What are natural disasters?
This category includes all those phenomena of nature that leave as consequences human and material losses.
What are the characteristics of natural disasters?
Among its main characteristics is the fact that they are unpredictable and on the other hand that they are not a direct consequence of human actions, although many of these do contribute to the frequency and intensity with which they occur.
How are natural disasters classified?
These are classified into:
- Meteorological (hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms).
- Geotechnical (avalanches and landslides).
- Geological (earthquakes and eruptions).
- Biological (pandemics).
How do prevent natural disasters?
Prevention is based on information campaigns about how to act in case of these events, avoid buildings near the riverbeds, as well as be prepared to face them with the necessary recommendations and emergency equipment.
How can natural disasters affect humans?
This type of event leaves consequences such as the loss of human lives, psychological traumas, and the appearance of diseases and also affects the economy of nations.