A disaster example is an event that causes a large amount of damage and destruction. In addition to physical damage, these events can also cause traumatic injuries. The physical materials involved in disasters differ in terms of their states of gas, liquid, and solid. These physical materials are hazardous due to their varying temperatures and pressures. Hurricane wind, for instance, can cause widespread destruction because of its overpressure. The wind can also accelerate debris, causing traumatic injuries.
While most of the world’s natural disasters are outside our control, they have devastating consequences for human life. These effects can be both direct and indirect, causing damage to property and livelihoods. Moreover, they can cause severe shortages of food and water. In addition, people affected by disasters experience various psychological and medical consequences. These effects can be especially devastating for women. Researchers have found that women affected by natural disasters are at an increased risk of developing PTSD.
Natural disasters can cause massive economic losses, which can be staggering. In the decade from 2000 to 2009, natural disasters caused an estimated $891 billion in damages. This is partly due to the destruction of essential and expensive infrastructure. Furthermore, disasters disproportionately affect low-income countries. In contrast, high-income countries experience a higher rate of industrial damage when disasters strike, which increases their burden of recovery.
Phases of disaster response
Depending on the scale and nature of the disaster, there are several phases in the recovery process following a disaster. The short-term phase involves providing immediate services to affected people, and the long-term phase involves strategic planning and action for longer-term recovery. In the short-term phase, attention is focused on the immediate emergency, such as providing assistance to residents and businesses. The long-term phase, by contrast, requires a variety of public and private resources.
There are many factors that determine whether a disaster is in the impact or development phase. In an impact phase, the physical destruction and range of personal losses are largely determined by the nature of the disaster. In contrast, the development phase, which is a prolonged process, may include the development of new treatments, vaccines, and drug regimens.
During the pre-disaster phase, people are most concerned with meeting their basic needs, which include food, shelter, and safety. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helps us understand how these needs can affect our behavior and response. In schools, for example, institutions may develop policies and practices to help ensure students are safe.
The fourth phase of disaster response focuses on restoration, which involves bringing back to normal the environment and economy of a community. This is important because it enables a region to return to its normal state. This requires a range of resources and a disaster-management leader to oversee the process.
For example, if a disaster kills many people, specialised care is necessary for a select group of people. However, the majority of care is provided outside of medical settings, by community-based workers. This is why training community-level workers is such a critical part of disaster management.
Effects on at-risk groups
While disasters affect the whole population, there are specific groups that are particularly vulnerable. This includes those with disabilities, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions. These groups often experience disproportionate levels of poverty and lack of access to health care, education, and employment. Even when they do find employment, they often make low wages. Moreover, they are more likely to live in households that are headed by women and are more likely to be renters than homeowners.
While disasters may be disruptive in the short term, they can also have long-term adaptive effects. These effects can include changes in risk perception, hazard intrusiveness, and household hazard adjustments. However, the cognitive effects of disasters do not appear to be large in aggregate, and they have a limited effect on household hazard adjustment.
Disasters also highlight social inequalities around the world, and indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable. In Brazil, for example, indigenous people are dying twice as often as their non-indigenous peers because of poor access to basic services. Because they are disadvantaged in numerous ways, the World Bank is collaborating with indigenous leaders in virtual consultations to address these issues. In these consultations, indigenous leaders highlighted a number of concerns, including the lack of assistance that is targeted to their needs. They also emphasized their lack of access to clean water and sanitation, as well as arbitrary arrests.
Although disasters affect anyone, they tend to affect people with lower socioeconomic status and less access to health resources. Moreover, disasters tend to hit rural areas, where public health infrastructure is inadequate. Additionally, disasters disrupt continuity of care and leave fragmented mental and primary health care infrastructures. These factors exacerbate existing disparities.
A better understanding of these social effects can guide disaster planning and pre-impact predictions.