Disasters are a serious disruptions, occurring over a relatively short time, of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. 

In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazards and vulnerability (lack of preparation/funding or engineering measures). 

Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as in the case of uninhabited regions. 

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.


During fast flowing water floods, debris can also crash into other objects or collect on other objects producing large projectiles that can cause further damage.

There are two main classifications:

Note: There is an argument that "natural disasters" should not be considered ’natural’ when humans are involved and there is a potential for damage from natural forces where humans live and are aware of the potential hazard. 

Source adapted from: Wikipedia contributors. (2019, February 5). Disaster. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:59, February 6, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Disaster&oldid=881853456