Glossary Term


A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic, and environmental losses and impacts.

Note: Disasters can be linked to the risk and impact of sudden or slow onset hazardous events and processes of environmental degradation. Climate change, in combination with other factors, is driving disaster risk in multiple and complex ways. This includes its effects as a "risk multiplier" through increasing the frequency, intensity, and predictability of weather-related hazards, such as floods following heavy rainfall, agricultural drought, extreme tropical storms, and heat waves; through impacts on gradual environmental processes, including sea level rise, desertification, and salinization; and on a wide range of ecosystem services on which people depend for survival, including food, water, and productive and habitable land; and, in some situations, by exacerbating social tensions and existing conflict. The term "natural disaster" should be avoided. Disasters are not natural. Correct language in relation to the impact of a natural hazard event includes variants of "natural hazard-induced disasters" or "disasters related to natural hazards."