Hazard vs Disaster
To understand the difference between hazard and disaster one should pay attention to their nature. 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 manmade disasters too. Disaster is the result of a hazard that may be natural or manmade, and in this article we shall differentiate between the two.
What is a Hazard?
A hazard is a situation where there is a threat to life, health, environment, or property. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, droughts, and volcanic eruptions are natural hazards that cause a lot of destruction. They are natural phenomenon that take place without regard to humans and do not strike a place taking into account the 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. Hence, it 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. 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.
When there are natural hazards, 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 and 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.
When it comes to hazards, there are several types of hazards. They are Physical (heat, noise, vibration), Chemical (leakages of chemical compounds, fires), Biological (parasites, viruses, bacteria), Psychological, and Radiation Hazards.
What is a Disaster?
A disaster is an event that completely disrupts the normal ways of a community. It brings on human, economical, and environmental losses to the community which the community cannot bear on its own. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, droughts, and volcanic eruptions are termed as disasters when they occur in places that are heavily inhabited areas. 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.
There are factors that are manmade and that 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 have 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.
Also, for manmade disasters we can give examples such as fires, transport accidents, nuclear radiation, explosions, etc.
What is the difference between Hazard and Disaster?
• A hazard is a situation where there is a threat to life, health, environment or property.
• A disaster is an event that completely disrupts the normal ways of a community. It brings on human, economical, and environmental losses to the community which the community cannot bear on its own.
• Hazards are natural or manmade phenomenon that are a feature of our planet and cannot be prevented. In their dormant state, hazards just pose a threat to life and property.
• These hazards are termed as disasters when they cause widespread destruction of property and human lives. Once a hazard becomes active and is no longer just a threat, it becomes a disaster.
• Both hazards and disasters are natural as well as manmade.
• We can prevent hazards becoming disasters if we learn to live in harmony with nature and take precautionary steps.
These are the difference between hazard and disaster.