Natural Hazards and Disasters

The vulnerability of environment has been increasing continuously due to human activities. But this is not one sided relationship. Humans are also the components of the environment. Hence they can’t escape from the effects of environmental change processes.

When local, regional or global processes of environment pose danger to humans or their property, they are simply natural events. For example, the blizzard blowing in the Antarctica is a natural event. But if this blizzard posses dangers to our lives and property, then it becomes a disaster.

For instance, tsunami was caused by an earthquake that occurred in the sea near Sumatra (Indonesia) on 26 December, 2004. It turned into a disaster for India, Srilanka and some other countries of Southeast Asia. It caused widespread loss to human life and property in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and on the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Difference between Natural Hazard and Disaster


  1. A hazards is a dangerous physical condition or event.
  2. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic erruption, landslides, droughts, etc are called natural hazards before they cause loss of life and damage to property.
  3. Small number of people are affected.
  4. It may cause injury, loss of life or damage of property.
  5. Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunami, landslide, drought, etc. are natural hazards.


  1. A disaster disrupts the normal function of the society caused by a hazard.
  2. It causes damage to property and loss of life but it disrupts the opportunities of employment also.
  3. A large number of people are affected by it.
  4. It causes widespread loss to life and property.
  5. It affects the society to such an extent that external aid becomes, necessary to compensate the losses.


  • Nearly 6 crore people are effected by natural disasters every year.
  • Natural events, when pose danger to humans, are called hazards.