Difference between Hazard And Disaster {Step by Step Guide}


Difference between Hazard And Disaster {Step by Step Guide}

Hello my Dear Friend, In this post “Difference between Hazard And Disaster“, We will read about the difference between Hazard and Disaster with Causes & Consequences in a very easy & interesting way. So…

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Difference between Hazard And Disaster with Examples

Can you distinguish between the terms disaster and hazard? Even if you can, this article will add to what you know. Through this article, we will learn the difference between a natural disaster and a natural hazard.

Along with that, we will also touch on some aspects related to them to enhance your understanding of a natural disaster and a hazard. It is going to be a fun and informative read. So stay tuned.

Disaster Vs Hazard – How do they differ?

Let’s understand the meanings of the terms hazards and disasters to discern the difference. 

  • A disaster can be explained as a sudden or unexpected occurrence that adversely impacts lives, services, and the environment in such a way that it becomes very difficult to cope with for a community.
  • A hazard on the other hand has the potential to have deleterious effects on lives, lands, and the environment. A hazard is called a disaster if it harms humans and their properties. If any hazard doesn’t impact the human community it remains a natural hazard and cannot be termed as a disaster.
  • Therefore, it is said that all disasters are hazards, but not all hazards are disasters.

Natural Disaster – Categories, Causes & Consequences


Around the globe from 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major natural disasters that took 1.23 million lives and impacted 4.2 billion people resulting in a global economic loss of US$2.97 trillion.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India is amongst the top disaster-prone countries.

Approximately 12% of the land area in India is exposed to floods, 68% of the land is vulnerable to droughts, landslides, and avalanches, 58.6% landmass is earthquake-prone, and tsunamis and cyclones are a regular phenomenon for 5,700 km of the 7,516-km long coastline. 

    • Floods – Worldwide floods are the major cause of destruction. Moreover, India is the second most affected country after China. In India, there are on average 17 flood incidents every year and that affects around 34.5 cr people.
    • Drought The years between 2000 and 2015 were the most difficult as the world witnessed severe drought cases affecting 45 crore people across the globe out of which 30% cases were from India. 
    • Wildfires – The Australian wildfire that started in 2019 and continued till 2020 burned more than 13 million acres, directly killing at least 33 people while the resulting smoke caused around 445 deaths.
  • Tornadoes – All continents except Antarctica disasters suffer from the violent air called tornados. The worst affected country of all is the US. In 2020 the US was hit by 1,248 tornadoes. The second worst affected in Canada. 
    • Hurricanes – In 2020, the deadliest Atlantic Hurricane took 478 lives and was the seventh costliest hurricane in the world.
    • Heat Waves – Around the globe in the last two decades every year around 13 % of deaths occurred due to extreme temperature. In Europe, the heatwaves accounted for the lion deaths. In India, the 2015 May-June heat wave incidents claimed 2,248 lives.
  • Earthquakes – From 1998 to 2017, earthquakes caused nearly 750,000 deaths globally. More than 125 million people were injured, left homeless, displaced, or evacuated during the emergency phase of the disaster.
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  • Natural disasters are the result of a hazard that has a significant impact on public health and wellbeing.
  • It directly impacts human life by causing severe injuries, malnutrition, and infectious diseases. In addition to these, there are disruption of essential services and infrastructure leading to homelessness leading to various psychological distresses.
  • According to the reports of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction from 2000 to 2019, in India, 79,732 people lost their lives and 108 crore people were affected in 321 incidents of natural disasters.
  • Natural disasters are also a great threat to a country’s economy. Frequent disasters put huge pressure on the fiscal growth of both the center and the state government. 
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  • Between 1980 to 1999 there were 3,656 natural disaster incidences whereas 6,681 disasters occurred from 2000 to 2019.
  • According to scientific reports, the rise in natural disaster incidences is due to extreme weather events.
  • Also, human involvement is to be blamed. As there can be seen increased incidences of drought, wildfires, and extreme temperature.

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Natural Hazards – Classifications, Causes & Consequences

As explained earlier a natural hazard is a natural phenomenon that might negatively impact human life and have deleterious effects on various aspects of a community’s well-being and the environment.

However, unless a natural hazard impacts humans it can’t be termed as a disaster, it just remains a natural phenomenon.  

Classifications & Causes 

    • Biological A hazard caused when there is exposure to venomous organisms and pathogens. The the 
  • Hydrological – Adverse movement, occurrence, and distribution of surface and below-surface water.
    • Climatological long-lived extreme weather and environmental processes that range from intraseasonal to interdecadal climate variability. 
  • Meteorological – short-lived extreme weather and temperature conditions.
  • Extraterrestrial hazards caused by extraterrestrial objects such as meteorites, asteroids, comets, and changes in interplanetary conditions that impact the earth.
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  • Natural disasters destroy infrastructure, economic losses, and personal injury or illness.
  • The loss of resources, services, security, and homelessness can lead to psychological distresses such as PTSD, major depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.
  • If a natural hazard cascades to becoming a natural disaster then the consequences will be the same as stated above.

Natural Disaster Management Act & Plan

  • The natural disaster management act after getting passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha got the president’s nod on 23rd December 2005. Under this act, there was an establishment called the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The chairperson of the NDMA is the Prime Minister, it has only 9 members at a time including the vice-chairperson. Currently, the vice-chairperson is Marri Shashidhar Reddy.
  • The body is responsible for forming the policies, plans, and guidelines for disaster management and ensuring an effective response to the disaster within time.
  • Mr. Pranab Mukherji, the ex-president of India on 1st June 2016, launched the Disaster Management Plan of India, which provides as well as seeks assistance from the concerned agencies for prevention, mitigation, and management of disasters. 
  • The Disaster Management Plan is the first plan established nationally since the establishment of the Disaster Management Act of 2005.

We hope your understanding of natural disasters and hazards has increased and all the facts and data that we have mentioned in the article were helpful. We promise to deliver more instructive and interesting content so stay connected.

Finally, thanks For Reading “Difference between Hazard And Disaster“.

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