Natural disaster

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A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard (e.g., flood, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake, or landslide). It leads to financial, environmental or human losses. The resulting loss depends on the vulnerability of the affected population to resist the hazard, also called their resilience.[1] This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability."[2] A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without vulnerability, e.g. strong earthquakes in uninhabited areas. The term natural has consequently been disputed because the events simply are not hazards or disasters without human involvement.[3] A concrete example of the division between a natural hazard and a natural disaster is that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a disaster, whereas earthquakes are a hazard. This article gives an introduction to notable natural disasters, refer to the list of natural disasters for a comprehensive listing.


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