What do you understand by disaster? Enumerate various types of natural and man-made disasters?

What do you understand by disaster? Enumerate various types of natural and man-made disasters?


  • Define disaster as per NDMA.
  • Mention both man-made and natural disasters, with examples
  • Mention some national and international initiatives and conclude accordingly.
Model Answer :

According to NDMA Act 2005, “Disaster” means a catastrophe, or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or manmade causes, or by accident which results in substantial loss of life or damage to property and environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.

Disasters can be triggered by natural hazards or be human-induced, or result from a combination of both. Broadly disasters are classified into two categories i.e. Natural Hazard and Manmade Hazard.

Types of Natural Hazards:

  1. Geophysical: Geological process or phenomenon that adversely affect of life, property or environment are of this category. Example: earth-quake, volcano
  2. Hydrological: Events caused by deviations in the normal water cycle and/or overflow of bodies of water caused by wind set-up. Example: Floods
  3. Meteorological: Events caused by short-lived/small to meso-scale atmospheric processes. Example: Cyclone, Dust-Storm, Snow.
  4. Climatological: Events caused by long-lived meso- to macro-scale climatic processes. Example: Drought, Extreme cold or hot.
  5. Biological: Process or phenomenon of organic origin or conveyed by biological vectors. Example: Epidemics due to viral, bacterial etc.


Manmade Disasters:

  • Accidental: These are the hazard due to various accidental events. These include industrial accidents, building collapse, fires, mine flooding, development within high-risk zones etc.
  • CBRN: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear hazards rank very high in among the human-induced risks, these also includes war related and terrorist attack.
  • Transportation: Disasters which are caused due to transportation activity inroad, air, rail, on river or sea etc are transportation disaster.
  • Pollution: These disasters are those which cause severe pollution air, land and water. These can be due cumulative impact of above three factors also.


Most of the disasters have multiple effects. They not only affect humans but also other species and environment (For example the climate change/global warming itself gets intensified due to pollution caused by humans). The Sendai framework, Marpol oil spill response, IAEA provisions are some international initiatives to counter various disasters. India is also a signatory of Sendai framework and already incorporated this plan (including SDG and UNFCC) in its national disaster management plan i.e. NDMA 2016.

Subjects : Disaster Management