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NATURAL DISASTERS

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the communitys or societys ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins (VULNERABILITY+ HAZARD ) / CAPACITY = DISASTER A disaster occurs when a hazard impacts on vulnerable people. The combination of hazards, vulnerability and inability to reduce the potential negative consequences of risk results in disaster.Threatening event, or probability of occurrence of a potentially damaging phenomenon within a given time period and area. Natural hazards are naturally occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events which can be geophysical (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic activity), hydrological (avalanches and floods), climatological (extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires), meteorological (cyclones and storms/wave surges) or biological (disease epidemics and insect/animal plagues). Technological or man-made hazards (complex emergencies/conflicts, famine, displaced populations, industrial accidents and transport accidents) are events that are caused by humans and occur in or close to human settlements. This can include environmental degradation, pollution and accidents.Technological or man-made hazards (complex emergencies/conflicts, famine, displaced populations, industrial accidents and transport accidents) There are a range of challenges, such as climate change, unplanned-urbanization, underdevelopment/poverty as well as the threat of pandemics, that will shape humanitarian assistance in the future. These aggravating factors will result in increased frequency, complexity and severity of disasters. Earthquakes These are the result of forces deep within the earth's interior. Sudden break within the upper layers of the earth, sometimes breaking the surface, resulting in the vibration of the ground, which where strong enough will cause the collapse of buildings and destruction of life and property. They strike with no early warning and can be devastating, but after a major one, aftershocks may be as strong as a new earthquake. Earthquakes usually happens along a fault plate, the border between plates.Earthquakes often trigger landslides, tidal waves and tsunamis. Powerful aftershocks frequently occur, causing further damage and increasing psychological stress.Intensity scales, like the Modified Mercalli scale and the Rossi-Forel scale, measure the amount of shaking at a particular location. So the intensity of an earthquake will vary depending on where you are. Sometimes earthquakes are referred to by the maximum intensity they produce.Magnitude scales, like the Richter magnitude scale and moment magnitude, measure the size of the earthquake at its source. So they do not depend on where the measurement is made.

Often, several slightly different magnitudes are reported for an earthquake. This happens because the relation between the seismic measurements and the magnitude is complex and different procedures will often give slightly different magnitudes for the same earthquake.Earthquakes are measured according to the Richter scale - the most devastating effects are seen on level 6 and above, and if the epicentre of the earthquake is located in highly populated areas. Earthquakes can cause high numbers of deaths and injuries as well as serious destruction of buildings and infrastructure. How to prevent You cannot prevent earthquakes but you can reduce the potential damages:

Development of possible warning indicators. Land-use regulations. Building regulations. Relocation of communities. Public awareness and education programs.

Mass movement dry A landslide is the movement of soil or rock controlled by gravity and the speed of the movement usually ranges between slow and rapid, but not very slow. It can be superficial or deep, but the materials have to make up a mass that is a portion of the slope or the slope itself. The movement has to be downward and outward with a free face.The term landslide is used in its broad sense to include downward and outward movement of slope forming materials (natural rock and soil). It is caused by heavy rain, soil erosion and earth tremors and may also happen in areas under heavy snow.Landslides are difficult to estimate as an independent phenomenon. It seems appropriate, therefore, to associate landslides with other hazards such as tropical cyclones, severe local storms and river floods. Rockfall refers to quantities of rock or stone falling freely from a cliff face. It is caused by undercutting, weathering or permafrost degradation. Subsidence is the motion of the Earth's surface as it shifts downward relative to a datum (e.g. the sea level). Subsidence (dry) can be the result of: geological faulting, isostatic rebound, human impact (e.g. mining, extraction of natural gas) etc. Subsidence (wet) can be the result of: karst, changes in soil water saturation, permafrost degradation (thermokarst) etc. Mass movement describes a quantity of debris/land/snow or ice that slides down a mountainside under the force of gravity. It often gathers material that is underneath the snowpack like soil, rock etc (debris avalanche). Warning period may vary. Little or no warning may be available if the cause is earthquake. However, some general warning may be assumed in the case of landslides arising from continuous heavy rain. Minor initial landslips may give warning that heavy landslides are to follow. How to prevent

Monitoring systems, where applicable.

Land-use and building regulations. Public awareness programs.

Mass movement wet Subsidence is the motion of the Earth's surface as it shifts downward relative to a datum (e.g. the sea level). Subsidence dry can be the result of: geological faulting, isostatic rebound, human impact (e.g. mining, extraction of natural gas) etc. Subsidence (wet) can be the result of: karst, changes in soil water saturation, permafrost degradation (thermokarst) etc. Rockfall refers to quantities of rock or stone falling freely from a cliff face. It is caused by undercutting, weathering or permafrost degradation. Avalanche describes a quantity of snow or ice that slides down a mountainside under the force of gravity. It occurs if the load on the upper snow layers exceeds the bonding forces of the entire mass of snow. It often gathers material that is underneath the snowpack like soil, rock etc (debris avalanche). A landslide is the movement of soil or rock controlled by gravity and the speed of the movement usually ranges between slow and rapid, but not very slow. It can be superficial or deep, but the materials have to make up a mass that is a portion of the slope or the slope itself. The movement has to be downward and outward with a free face. Tsunami A tsunami is a series of waves caused by a rapid displacement of a body of water (ocean, lake). The waves are characterised by a very long wavelength and their amplitude is much smaller offshore. The impact in coastal areas can be very destructive as the waves advance inland and can extend over thousands of kilometers. Triggers of a tsunami can be: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mass movements, meteorite impacts or underwater explosions. The Japanese term for this phenomenon "tsunami" ("Wave in the port" in Japanese) , which is observed mainly in the Pacific, has been adopted for general usage. Volcanic eruptions happen when lava and gas are discharged from a volcanic vent. The most common consequences of this are population movements as large numbers of people are often forced to flee the moving lava flow. Volcanic eruptions often cause temporary food shortages and volcanic ash landslides called Lahar. The most dangerous type of volcanic eruption is referred to as a 'glowing avalanche'. This is when freshly erupted magma forms hot pyroclastic flow which have temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees. The pyroclastic flow is formed from rock fragments following a volcanic explosion , the flow surges down the flanks of the volcano at speeds of up to several hundred kilometres per hour, to distances often up to 10km and occasionally as far as 40 km from the original disaster site.The International Federation response adjusts to meet the needs of each specific circumstance. As population movement is often a consequence, the provision of safe areas, shelter, water, food and health supplies are primordial. In general response prioritizes temporary shelter materials; safe water and basic sanitation; food supplies; and the short term provision of basic health services and supplies

Droughts Drought is an insidious phenomenon. Unlike rapid onset disasters, it tightens its grip over time, gradually destroying an area. In severe cases, drought can last for many years and have a devastating effect on agriculture and water supplies. Drought is defined as a deficiency of rainfall over an extended period a season, a year or several years relative to the statistical multi-year average for the region. Lack of rainfall leads to inadequate water supply for plants, animals and human beings. A drought may result in other disasters: food insecurity, famine, malnutrition, epidemics and displacement of populations Rural communities can sometimes cope with one or two successive rain failures and crop or livestock losses: the situation becomes an emergency when people have exhausted all their purchasing resources, food stocks, assets and normal coping mechanisms. Subsequent disasters caused by droughts Desertification Desertification is the process by which productive or habitable land becomes gradually more arid and less capable of sustaining vegetation, eventually turning into desert. It is often a cause of long-term disasters. Crop failure, food shortages, malnutrition and famineFood shortages result from an abnormal reduction in crop yield, such that it is insufficient to meet the nutritional or economic needs of the community.Drought-induced food shortages mean many people, in particular pregnant and lactating women, infants and children, lack a sufficient balance of nutrients for health and wellbeing.Famine is a catastrophic food shortage affecting large numbers of people, brought on by climatic, environmental or socio-economic factors. Famine may lead to widespread death, disease and displacement. Epidemics In turn, poor nutrition lowers people's resistance to disease and increases the risk of outbreaks of preventable diseases. Water shortages, which force people to use unsafe water, favour the spread of water-borne diseases. Population displacement Food-security problems may prompt people to move to other areas. For example, rural populations may migrate to the outskirts of towns in search of better conditions. Or else, large settlements of displaced people may form, increasing the likelihood of outbreaks of disease. Complex emergencies/conflicts Mass migration from drought-affected areas can provoke tensions in host communities by creating competition for scarce natural resources, such as land or water. In parallel, programmes are implemented to preserve and restore livelihoods. Such assistance may take the following forms:

distribution of seeds, tools and fertilizer; destocking or restocking of livestock; distribution of livestock fodder;

support to pastoralists in transporting livestock to alternative grazing areas during severe dry spells; income-generating schemes that enable people to diversify their sources of income on a small scale; training and education in relevant skills, for example in carpentry or bicycle repair, to enable people to earn an income; vegetable-gardening, poultry and fish-pond projects; small-scale irrigation schemes.