Hazard vs Disaster
Despite all the advances in science and technology, man is helpless in the face of natural calamities that are termed as disasters because of the trail of destruction in terms of loss of lives and property caused by them. But disasters are not always natural and there are man made disasters also. Disaster is the result of a hazard that may be natural or manmade, and in this article we shall differentiate between the two.
Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, droughts, and volcanic eruptions are natural hazards that cause a lot of destruction but they are termed as disasters when they occur in places that are heavily inhabited areas. They are natural phenomenon that take place without regard to humans and do not strike a place taking into account built environment or the population. When any of these hazards takes place in an area that is desolate, it causes no harm to human lives or property and hence is not called a disaster though technically it is the same phenomenon that would have raised an alarm had it taken place in an area that was thickly populated.
Tornados and typhoons occur frequently in many parts of the world but are labeled as disasters only when they take place where there is built environment and human population. It is clear then that a hazard is an event that has the potential to cause widespread destruction and loss of lives and property. But when a hazard strikes an area that has no human population, though it still has destructive properties, it is not termed as a disaster.
Apart from this difference, there are factors that are manmade and help in turning a hazard into a disaster. The way and the speed in which deforestation is taking place in many parts of the world has resulted in an increased frequency of floods that lead to widespread destruction. Earthquakes in seismic zones that are prone to them cannot be prevented but high concentration of human population and inadequately built houses that cannot withstand earthquakes lead to disasters at a very high level resulting in loss of valuable lives.
Hazards are natural phenomenon, they cannot be prevented. But we can certainly learn to live in harmony with nature by not taking steps that can turn hazards into major disasters. If one takes into account the cost that we finally pay when a disaster strikes that the cost of averting it, we come to a conclusion that it is prudent to be prepared rather than inviting the wrath of nature on a very large scale.
Hazard vs Disaster
• Hazards are natural phenomenon that are a feature of our planet and cannot be prevented.
• These hazards are termed as disasters when they cause widespread destruction of property and human lives.
• We can prevent disasters if we learn to live in harmony with nature and take precautionary steps.