The United Nations defines a disaster as a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society. Disasters involve widespread human, material, economic or environmental impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.
There is no country that is immune to disasters, though vulnerability to disaster varies. There are four main types of disasters:
- Natural Disasters: Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, volcano eruptions etc
- Environmental Emergencies: Technological or industrial accidents, involving hazardous material. They occur where these materials are produced, used, stored or transported.
- Complex Emergencies: Break-down of authority, looting and attacks on strategic installations and terrorism.
- Pandemic Emergencies: Epidemics and other health related emergencies