Glossary Term

Sudden-onset disaster

A disaster triggered by a hazardous event that emerges quickly or unexpectedly. Sudden-onset disasters may be climate-related (e.g., floods, cyclones, landslides, tornadoes, wildfires), geologic-related (earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions) or not (e.g., chemical explosion or critical infrastructure failure). Depending on their severity and the affected community’s vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity, they may also result in temporary (or sometimes protracted) displacement.