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Event or chain of events resulting in major damage, destruction or death / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A disaster is a serious problem occurring over a short or long period of time that causes widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.[1][2] Disasters are routinely divided into either "natural disasters" caused by natural hazards or "human-instigated disasters" caused from anthropogenic hazards. However, in modern times, the divide between natural, human-made and human-accelerated disasters is difficult to draw.[3][4][5]

Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States

Examples of natural hazards include avalanches, flooding, cold waves and heat waves, droughts, earthquakes, cyclones, landslides, lightning, tsunamis, volcanic activity, wildfires, and winter precipitation.[6] Examples of anthropogenic hazards include criminality, civil disorder, terrorism, war, industrial hazards, engineering hazards, power outages, fire, hazards caused by transportation, and environmental hazards.

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits ā€“ more than 95% of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater (as a percentage of gross domestic product) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.[7][8]