What are the causes and characteristics of disasters?

Disasters caused by natural events or man-made causes are major events that affect life on Earth. The occurrence, causes and consequences of disasters are caused by many different factors and can therefore be unpredictable. However, disaster preparedness is essential to minimize their impact.

The occurrence and causes of disasters are caused by geographical, meteorological, hydrological and anthropogenic reasons. While natural disasters occur due to causes such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and storms, man-made disasters occur due to environmental pollution, nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks and war.

Causes of disasters

The causes of disasters are quite diverse and can be caused by various factors. They are generally divided into two main groups as natural disasters and man-made disasters.

Natural disasters occur due to various natural events. These include events such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, storms, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.


It arises as a result of movements in the earth’s crust. Earthquakes break the earth’s crust and release energy. This released energy is directly proportional to the intensity and duration of the earthquake. Earthquakes often occur along fault lines and can cause extensive damage and loss of life.

Flood and landslide

It arises as a result of heavy rainfall. While floods damage settlements due to higher than normal water levels, landslides occur due to landslides on sloping slopes or mountainous areas. Such disasters can cause serious damage to residential areas such as homes and businesses.


Storms such as hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes often form in the seas or oceans. These storms are especially effective in coastal settlements and can wreak havoc.

Volcanic eruption

It occurs in active volcanoes and can result in the release of substances such as lava, ash and gas into the environment. Such disasters often threaten people living in the immediate vicinity of volcanoes.


It usually arises as a result of earthquakes and can wreak havoc in coastal areas. Tsunamis are the result of huge waves moving toward land and can often cause widespread destruction.

Characteristics of disasters

Causes and characteristics of disasters

While the characteristics of disasters vary, they generally have the following characteristics:

they occur suddenly

Most natural disasters occur suddenly and are often unpredictable. Therefore, people caught unprepared can be exposed to disasters that cause serious damage and loss of life.

they are unpredictable

Disasters are events that cannot be predicted when or where they will occur. Therefore, people should always be prepared for disasters.

They spread over a large area

Disasters often affect a large area. For example, earthquakes or floods can affect many homes, businesses or farmland. Therefore, disasters can directly or indirectly affect the lives of many people.

They cause great damage and loss of life.

Disasters often cause major material damage and loss of life. Especially in developing countries, disasters can have a profound impact on people’s lives and hold them back for years.

help is needed

After disasters, people often need help. This assistance may include providing basic needs such as food, water, shelter and health care. That is why international aid organizations, local governments and volunteer groups take action after disasters to help the survivors.

Can have long lasting effects

The consequences of disasters can persist not only immediately after the disaster, but also months or even years later. For example, after an earthquake, people can experience long-term housing problems and health problems. Therefore, the consequences of disasters require long-term planning and support.

How to prepare for disasters?

Causes and characteristics of disasters

Disaster preparedness is essential to minimize the damage that disasters can cause. Disasters are often sudden and unpredictable, but being prepared can help mitigate the effects of disasters. Below are some key steps for disaster preparedness:

Make an emergency plan

If you have an emergency plan at home or at work, you know what to do in the event of an emergency. This plan can be prepared with your family or colleagues and determines how you should respond to different types of disasters such as fire, earthquake or flood.

Prepare an emergency kit

A first aid bag is a bag with essential supplies that you can use during an emergency. This bag can hold water, food, medicine, blankets and other emergency supplies.

Check your insurance

By looking at your home or work insurance, you can find out the extent of damage caused by calamities. Insurance policies can offer different coverages and limits for fire, earthquake, flood, and other types of disasters.

Take emergency training

By taking emergency training, you can get information on what to do in the event of a disaster. These trainings can cover topics such as firefighting, first aid and rescue.

Evaluate your risks

Map the disaster risks in your area and take measures based on these risks. For example, if you live in an area with a high earthquake risk, check that your home is earthquake resistant and have it modified if necessary.

What Are Man-Made Disasters?

Causes and characteristics of disasters

Man-made disasters are disasters caused directly or indirectly by humans. Some of these disasters are:

  • Occupational accidents: Occupational accidents are events that take place in industrial installations and affect people and the environment. For example, spills of chemical waste or explosions can seriously harm human health and cause environmental pollution.
  • Nuclear Accidents: Nuclear accidents are caused by explosions, leaks or other events in nuclear power plants or nuclear silos and facilities. Such disasters can cause widespread radiation exposure and long-term health effects.
  • Fires: Fires can start for many different reasons, but human error or negligence can play a major role in starting fires. Fires can cause major property damage and loss of life, especially in cities.
  • Terrorist Attacks: Terrorist attacks are actions deliberately planned to harm people’s lives, property or the environment. Such attacks can consist of bombings, gunfire or other types of attacks and can cause severe human casualties and social consequences.
  • Wars: Wars are the result of conflicts between people and can lead to disasters such as widespread destruction, deaths and displacement.

Because such disasters are caused directly or indirectly by humans, they can be predictable and preventable. Therefore, addressing man-made disasters is the responsibility of people, and advance planning, prevention and preparedness can help mitigate the impact of disasters.

How Do Natural Disasters Occur?

Natural disasters are caused by geographical, meteorological and hydrological reasons. Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and storms are the result of natural causes.

What Are Man-Made Disasters?

It is caused by man-made disasters, environmental pollution, nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks and war.

What can be done to prepare for disasters?

Things you can do to prepare for disasters include making emergency plans, preparing emergency kits, reviewing insurance policies, receiving disaster education, and assessing risk.

What are the effects of disasters on human life?

The impact of disasters can be seen in various areas such as loss of life and property, migration, destruction, spread of disease, problems with access to food and water resources. The consequences of disasters can be experienced in different areas with their economic, social and psychological dimensions.

The more prepared you are for disasters, the less the consequences will be?

Yes, disaster preparedness is an important step in minimizing the impact of disasters. Steps such as disaster preparedness, contingency planning, contingency kits, review insurance policies, disaster education and risk assessment are important steps that can be taken to mitigate the negative impact of disasters.

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