Natural Hazards: causes, distribution pattern, Consequences and mitigation measures

Disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, etc., have struck the earth from time-to-time. These events have caused a huge loss to human life and property.

Earthquake is one of the most destructive natural hazards. It can be defined as the sudden shaking of earth’s crust. Earthquakes can occur any time of the year, day or night, with sudden impact and little or no warning at all. Earthquakes cause large scale destruction of life and property. They can destroy buildings and infrastructure, killing and injuring many lives.

Tsunami waves are also known as tidal waves, although they have nothing to do with tides. These waves originate by the rapid displacement of water from a lake or sea due to seismic activity, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions or a large meteoroid impact. The effects of a tsunami can either be unnoticeable or very destructive. Cyclones are characterised by powerful swirling winds moving in anti-clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere. These cyclones occur mainly in the tropical and temperate regions of the world.

Flood is the state of high water level that leads to the inundation of land, which is not usually submerged. Floods can occur either gradually or suddenly. There are different types of floods, namely, flash floods, riverine floods and urban floods. In case of flash floods, early warning is not possible.

Droughts can be caused by natural as well as human factors. Major natural factors causing drought are deficit rainfall, which manifest into different spheres because of the various vulnerability factors associated with them.

Landslides can lead to destruction of life and property. They cause road blocks, destruction of railway lines and diversion of river course leading to floods. The impact of a landslide on the natural environment is severe as well as massive. Landslides are largely controlled by highly localised factors, which vary from place-to-place.

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