Hazards present potential threats which may be natural (hurricanes or earthquakes) or man-made (industrial accidents, war, civil conflict). The actions and activities described below will only relate to natural disasters but the Logistics Cluster will have similar functions in technological and environmental disasters. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that one type of disaster accounts for nearly one-third of all global emergencies.
If and when the disaster occurs, the humanitarian sector and governments provide the necessary relief supplies and coordination in a timely manner through use of prepositioned stocks and established coordination mechanism.
According to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the following natural disasters are the most common. Some of the deadliest disasters in history can be placed in this category, including the 1970 Bhola Cyclone in East Pakistan (500,000 dead) and Hurricane Katrina (1,836 deaths). On the right of the graphic (pictured below) are the 15 worst disasters to hit the UK over the same time; perhaps surprisingly the Great Storm of 1987 was also the most damaging event in the world that year. Disasters occur when the poor and vulnerable are unable to cope with a major hazard due to underlying social, economic, environmental or political pressures.
Diagram 1 : Disaster occurrenceTo download the diagram, 'right click' on it and then choose 'Save Image As' from the menu OR go to Annexes.

A hazardous situation in a country may turn into a disaster when the affected society cannot cope by using only its own resources.
Diagram 2: Typical disaster cycleTo download the diagram, 'right click' on it and then choose 'Save Image As' from the menu OR go to Annexes. Natural disasters, also referred to as sudden onset disasters, are emergencies caused by natural, technological and environmental calamities. The risk of natural disasters is increasing because of population growth, urbanization, and alteration disruption of the natural environment, substandard dwellings and public buildings and inadequate infrastructure maintenance. Disaster risk relates to the chance of negative consequences when a particular hazard affects vulnerable people or locations.
Lumped together, these disasters account for an estimated 26.8 percent of all natural disasters.
The coloured border denotes the type of disaster (see key pictured right), and the disasters are arranged in rough chronological order, from left to right. However, you may be surprised to learn that heat waves (often associated with drought) are one of the deadliest types of geological disaster in the United States.
Four of the ten deadliest natural disasters in recorded history were the result of catastrophic earthquakes.

Live has charted the costliest natural disasters in the world, year by year for the last 30 years, using data compiled by the Centre for Research into the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Based on statistics gathered between the years of 1970 and 2005, the ISDR estimates 30.7 percent of all natural disasters can be categorized as floods. The category of windstorms includes three major types of natural disasters – tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons. While it is easy to forget about the danger of disease epidemics when living in the developed world, the truth is that epidemics account for 11.2 percent of all global disasters. Earthquakes are less frequent than some disasters, but have been known to be more deadly on average.
Drought is a long-term disaster that has the potential to negatively impact a wide swath of geography.

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