What is a Natural Disaster? Types, Causes, Events

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What is a natural disaster?

Natural disasters refer to hazardous activities damaging both resources and lives. There are different types of natural disasters such as floods, storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Over the course of its billions-year history, the earth has seen several natural disasters. Several mass extinction events and severe consequences for various surviving species have resulted from some of these events. To find the answer to this and more details on Natural disasters, here is a blog that will explore everything!

Source: Moving.com

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What is Natural Disaster?

A natural disaster can be defined as “A major event caused by Earth’s natural processes that leads to significant environmental degradation and loss of life.” A natural disaster is frequently preceded by a natural hazard. The Gujarat Earthquake, for example, which struck on January 26, 2001, was a natural calamity. The natural danger lives underneath the active fault lines that run through Gujarat.

Anthropogenic causes, on the other hand, can cause or affect some natural dangers. Deforestation, mining, and agricultural activities, for example, can all cause landslides. Natural disasters frequently result in widespread damage. Natural disasters, such as wildfires, destroy animal habitats while also causing property damage and loss of life.

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Source: Factnomenal

Types of Natural Disasters

Geological Disasters, Hydrological disasters, Meteorological Disasters, and Biological Disasters are the four broad types of natural hazards.

natural disaster
Types of Natural Disasters

Geological Disasters

Source: World Atlas

Geological hazards, or dangers caused by geological (i.e., Earth) processes, such as plate tectonics, are a type of risk. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are examples of this. In general, geological extreme events are beyond human control, however, humans have a significant impact on the events’ consequences.

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Meteorological Disasters

Source: World Atlas

Hazards caused by meteorological (i.e., weather) phenomena, particularly those related to temperature and wind, are known as meteorological hazards. Heat waves, cold waves, cyclones, hurricanes, and freezing rain are all examples of this. In the Atlantic, cyclones are known as hurricanes, while in the Pacific, they are known as typhoons.

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Hydrological Disasters

Source: World Atlas

Hazards caused by hydrological (water) processes are known as hydrological hazards. Floods, droughts, mudslides, and tsunamis are examples of natural disasters. Floods and droughts may cause havoc on agriculture and are one of the leading causes of famine. The 1931 Central China floods killed three or four million people, making it the greatest natural disaster in history(excluding pandemics).

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Biological Disasters

Source: Stats News

Biological dangers are those that arise as a result of biological processes. This comprises a wide range of diseases, including infectious diseases that move from person to person and pose a significant threat to vast populations of people. Biological hazards are often left out of discussions about natural hazards, instead of falling under the purview of medicine and public health.

Geological DisastersMeteorological DisastersHydrological DisastersBiological Disasters
– Sinkholes
– Landslides
– Volcanic Eruption 
– Earthquakes
– Avalanche
– Limnic Eruption
– Flood
– Tsunami
– Cyclonic
– Storm
– Blizzard
– Cold waves
– Drought
– Hailstorms
– Tornadoes 
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Hepatitis C

Now that we have studied the classification of Natural Disasters let us look into some Natural Disasters in depth. 


Source: Wikipedia

Tornadoes are rotating, funnel-shaped clouds that form as a result of intense thunderstorms. With powerful winds averaging 30 miles per hour, they extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. They can also go from being stationary to 70 miles per hour in a matter of seconds.

Tornadoes can strike with little or no notice, giving those in affected areas only seconds to seek shelter. People often endure emotional anguish as a result of the unexpected nature of tornadoes and severe storms. Overwhelming anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions to natural disasters.


Credits : National Geographic

Tropical storms that originate in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific Ocean are known as hurricanes. Every year, hurricanes harm millions of people living along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Hurricanes are known to cause mental suffering in their victims. Before, during, and after these types of storms, people commonly experience intense anxiety, continual worrying, difficulty sleeping, and other depression-like symptoms. Other symptoms of hurricane-related emotional distress include:

Fearing that forecasted storms could turn into hurricanes, even if the chances of this happening are slim, yelling or fighting with family and friends on a regular basis Having storm-related thoughts, memories, or dreams that you can’t seem to get out of your head.


Credits: The Quint

Floods happen when water overflows from an area that is ordinarily dry. Floods are caused by a variety of factors, including hurricanes and tropical storms, broken dams or levees, and flash floods that happen within minutes or hours of heavy rain. Although floods are more common around the shore, especially during hurricane season, they can happen anywhere and vary in magnitude and length. Even little streams, gullies, and creeks that appear to be unaffected in dry weather might become flooded. Here are some symptoms of emotional discomfort caused by floods:

If you’re feeling hopeless or helpless, Fearing that anticipated storms would turn into hurricanes, even if the chances of this happening are slim, yelling or fighting with family and friends on a regular basis.


Credits: The National Geographic

An earthquake occurs when the Earth’s plates shift, causing a violent shaking of the ground that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Mild initial shaking might quickly intensify and become violent. Earthquakes are quite common, and they happen every day somewhere in the world. Even mild earthquakes that cause minor damage and destruction can induce emotional discomfort in people (especially in areas not accustomed to these events). Aftershocks can occur for months after an earthquake, and they can be just as distressing. Here are some symptoms of emotional distress caused by earthquakes:

Being easily startled, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, and having thoughts and memories of the earthquake that you can’t shake


Credits: Magnet Brains

A drought is a common, recurring meteorological occurrence that varies in intensity and duration depending on the region of the country and even within a state. Drought occurs when precipitation is below average for an extended period of time, usually a season or more. Drought can also be caused by a delay in the rainy season or rain timing in relation to crop development. Some symptoms of drought-related emotional discomfort include:

Feelings of overwhelming anxiety, continual worrying, difficulty sleeping, and other depressive-like symptoms, disagreements between people over limited water supplies, health issues connected to dust, insufficient water flow, or poor water and air quality, and financial problems due to crop failures

Examples of Natural Disasters

Here given below are the some examples of natural disasters-

Geological Disasters

  • Avalanche: An earthquake triggered an avalanche in Peru, killing nearly 20,000 people in 1970.
  • Landslides: An entire village was wiped away in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand in 1998.
  • Earthquakes: An earthquake which registered 7.9 on the Richter scale, ripped through Gujarat, killing over 1,00,000 people in 2001.
  • Sinkholes: A sinkhole over 100 meters deep formed suddenly. The event resulted in the death of five people and the evacuation of thousands in 2007.
  • Volcanic Eruption: Mount Vesuvius – the deadliest volcano to ever erupt. It released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings. It was speculated that around 2,000 people died as a direct result in 79 AD.

Hydrological Disasters

  • Flood: A series of floods devastated China in 1931. It was also called one of the deadliest floods in history, with the death toll estimated to be between 3.7 million to 4 million.
  • Tsunami: A 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused a 33-foot-high tsunami to strike in 2011. It resulted in the deaths of over 18,500 individuals. The tsunami also caused the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Limnic Eruption: A limnic eruption was a rare kind of natural disaster in 1986. Because of its invisible nature, only two instances of this disaster have been ever observed. The deadliest among the two was the Lake Nyos limnic eruption. 1746 people and 3500 cattle were killed in this event.

Meteorological Disasters

  • Cyclonic Storm: Cyclone Amphan caused widespread damage in Eastern India, while Cyclone Nisarga wreaked havoc on the West Coast of India in 1920.
  • Blizzard: In 1972, a blizzard dropped nearly 26 feet of snow, completely covering 200 villages in Iran. It was the deadliest in recorded history, causing the death of 4,000 individuals.
  • Cold waves: In February 2020, Baghdad experienced the very first snowfall since the 1910s.
  • Drought: Cape Town, in South Africa, faced a major water crisis between 2017 to 2018. This crisis had an extensive impact on public health and the nation’s economy.
  • Tornadoes: The Daulatpur-Saturia tornado was the deadliest tornado to occur in recorded history. It killed approximately 1,300 people and injured an estimated 12,000 people

Other Disasters

Forest fires: The 2019-20 Australian Bushfires resulted in 34 deaths, the destruction of 5,900 buildings, and an estimated 46 million acres were burnt.

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What defines a natural disaster?

An extreme weather condition that has the potential to threaten the safety of living beings and the land in general, comes under natural disaster.

What are 3 examples of natural disasters?

Earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires are the three examples of natural disasters.

What causes natural disasters?

Pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion are some of the reasons because of why natural disasters can occur.

What are geological disasters?

The following are geological disasters:

What are hydrological disasters?

The following are hydrological disasters:
Limnic Eruption

We hope now you are aware of what are natural resources. For more information on such interesting topics for your school, visit our school education page and follow Leverage Edu.

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