As the word suggests, natural hazards are naturally occurring physical phenomena that affect adversely on humans, other species, and the environment. In this article, we have come up with a list of natural hazards to make you understand the whole concept so that you can attempt this question easily in the examination.
There are particularly 5 types of natural hazards-
1. Geophysical (earthquake, tsunami, landslide, and volcanic eruption),
2. Hydrological (floods and avalanches),
3. Climatological (drought, wildfire, extreme temperatures),
4. Meteorological (cyclone and storms),
5. Biological (disease epidemics)
Other than harming human lives these extreme events can be hazardous in several ways. For instance, earthquakes can rupture buildings, cause landslides, shatter roads thus can put human life to a halt within minutes. And in this way, they do not only take human lives but can cause billion dollars damage. Later in this article, we will elaborate on the classification of natural hazards and disasters
Difference between a Natural Hazard and a Natural Disaster
Although the two terms are interchangeably used, natural hazards are events that occur naturally while natural disasters refer to the effect of a natural hazard on humans. If there is no effect of a natural hazard on humans then it is not known as a natural disaster.
Example- Floods in Indonesia in 2020 is the natural disaster as it affects human life to a large extent, the dreaded coronavirus is another such example of a natural disaster which affects human life to a whole new level.
Classification of Natural Hazards and Disasters
An earthquake can be defined as the shaking of the earth caused by tectonic plates. This regular shaking of ground can rupture buildings, cause trauma in humans, and can also cause natural disasters many times. There can be many secondary effects of the earthquake too such as tsunami, landslides and fires.
Tsunami is a series of regular waves generally caused by the earthquake and volcanic eruptions that generally occur in ocean or lake water. They can affect human lives adversely. For example- the 2009 tsunami in America caused losses of lives and adversely damaged the environment.
When ground on slopes becomes unstable, landslides happen, the ground collapses and heavy rocks flow down to the side of the hill and mountain. However, they can also become a natural disaster when these huge rocks and muds occur near the inhabited areas.
Volcanic eruptions happen when lava and magma are discharged and they produce harmful lava flows, toxic gases, flying rocks, and ash which can be harmful to human lives.
Floods are the most frequent type of natural disaster and occur when dry land is submerged with an overflow of water. Floods usually occur due to heavy rainfall and snowmelt. Floods are a big natural disaster the world is dealing with now. Because floods adversely affect human life and property. For example- the devastating flood of Indonesia in 2020 where people lost their lives in this natural disaster.
They are a mass of snow, ice, and rocks that fall from mountains and can be disastrous. One such disastrous example is North America where there are almost 50 deaths each year due to avalanches.
Drought refers to a prolonged dry period in an area that occurs mainly due to a shortage of rain in a particular area. This leads to water and food shortages in a particular area which impacts human health negatively.
These occur when vegetated areas in forests, deserts, and grasslands are set alight and cause uncontrolled fires. They usually take place in hot and dry seasons and can occur due to natural events such as lightning strikes.
Cyclones also known as typhoons or hurricanes is a spinning storm that forms over the ocean due to the evaporated water. However, these strong winds and rains are considered the most intense and destructive natural disaster. It is one of the most deadly types of natural hazards among others.
Diseases are biological hazards that can be aggravated by human factors such as urbanization and lack of sanitization. They usually affect multiple people at once hence called an epidemic.
Example- Novel Coronavirus proves to be the biggest natural disaster in history as it caused around 1.34 million deaths in the world.
We have seen an overview of types of natural hazards and disasters. Natural hazards and disasters are natural events but their reoccurrence and adversity lie in the fact that how people are harming the environment in one way or the other.
Example- Although earthquakes happen naturally but mining triggers the earthquake and makes them more deadly.
However, Natural hazards can be avoided to some extent if individuals stop harming the environment by controlling activities like dumping plastic in roads, bursting firecrackers, taking proper care of sanitization, etc.
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