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Contribution to Book
Natural Disasters: Overview
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World (2008)
  • Lisa Brady, Boise State University
Natural disasters are catastrophic events associated with extreme weather or geological forces that cause large-scale destruction to human communities. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes or typhoons, floods, drought, and fire are the most common examples of such phenomena. Though each can be devastating on its own, it is not unusual for several of these forces to occur together, creating even greater damage. Epidemic diseases often follow such catastrophes and contribute to the devastation. Loss of life and destruction of property are the measures by which a disaster typically is evaluated. Thus the more populated and developed areas of the world often suffer the greatest losses. Natural disasters have taken on epic proportions in the modern world, not because nature has become more violent, but because human communities have grown both in number and complexity, which makes them more vulnerable to disruption.
Publication Date
Peter N. Stearns
Oxford University Press
Citation Information
Lisa Brady. "Natural Disasters: Overview" New YorkThe Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World Vol. 5 (2008)
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