Geophysical, Climatological, Hydrological, Technological

What is a disaster?

A sudden, catastrophic event that seriously impacts and disrupts the way a community or society functions. They also cause human, economic, material and environmental losses that go beyond a society's ability to handle, using it's own resources.

Types of Disasters

  1. Geophysical: Earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and volcanic activity
  2. Climatological: Extreme temperatures, drought, and wildfires
  3. Hydrological: Avalanches and floods
  4. Technological or man-made hazards: Complex emergencies, famine, displaced populations, industrial accidents, and transport accidents

Did You Know...

  • Between the years of 2000-2012, natural disasters caused about $1.7 trillion dollars in damages, while affecting 2.9 billion people
  • Up to 10,000 people die a year as a result of an earthquake
  • Floods are the most widespread disasters aside from wildfires
  • During 2012 there were 905 natural disasters
  • In the year of 2011 there were 154 floods, 16 droughts, and 15 cases of extreme temperature
  • On December 26, 2004 a tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused the most devastating tsunami in history killing over 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives

Watch from 10:30-14:08 minutes, Displays how many reacted to the earthquake/tsunami

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami Documentary (Sad Documentary)

Devastating Events

Help Japan | Aide au Japon | Hilfe für Japan | Ayuda para Japón

The Government of Canada

The Government of Canada strives to reduce the impact of natural disasters as an integral component of poverty reduction and sustainable development. Disasters not only threaten livelihoods, but international and national efforts to advance development and eradicate poverty. However, many programs are brought forth throughout the year in order to help ensure efficient and proactive planning. The overall importance of prevention, mitigation and preparedness in limiting the impact of natural disasters has guided the Government of Canada in its approach to proactive planning.

As a country Canada works to reduce the impact of natural disasters throughout the development of policies and programming. While going through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada is able to provide proactive financial support to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. (Global Affairs Canada 2014)

Canada also supports and works with multiple international and multilateral organizations. Some include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, in order to help strengthen risk reduction and disaster management capacity. (Global Affairs Canada 2014)

Red Cross (NGO)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) happens to be the world's largest humanitarian organization, that provides assistance without discrimination. Founded in 1919, the IFRC strives to carry out relief operations to assist victims that encounter disaster. They focus on four core areas which include, promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care. The Red Cross' vision is "To inspire, encourage, facilitate and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies, with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering, and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world". (International Red Cross and Red Crescent 2014)
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Red Cross: How to Prepare, Respond & Recover

  • Strengthen the preparedness and capacities of communities so that they are in a better position to respond when a disaster occurs
  • Promote activities and actions that mitigate the adverse effects of hazards
  • Protect development projects such as health facilities from the impact of disasters
  • Making sure communities and households sustain good levels of health care, and access to a civil society, that are less susceptible to hazards
  • Providing food supplies to those that have been effected in terms of food stocks or crops
  • Making sure every individual is provided with some sort of shelter, if individual shelter is not available collective shelter is provided in suitable large public buildings or structures, such as warehouses, halls or barracks, or in temporary planned or self-settled camps
  • Providing non-food items such as clothing, blankets, bedding, stoves and kitchen sets, water containers and hygiene products
  • The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), provides immediate financial support
  • Supporting vulnerable and effected communities with the proper quantity and quality of food and nutrition (food drives or donations)
  • Enhancing awareness and knowledge in the food security and livelihoods among vulnerable communities
  • Establishing partnerships with other organizations

Preparing younger generations for future disasters in Sri Lanka

Ten year old Ragulesh, attended class Wednesday morning as per usual. Instead of doing the usual classroom announcements , his teacher announced they would be organizing a tsunami mock drill. The young boy responded saying, “I don’t know what a tsunami is. All I know is that it’s a bad thing and that my parents suffered from it". The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Mullaitivu Branch organized a schools disaster simulation program at the GTM School of east Mulliwaikkal, to educate students and parents about disasters and how to handle them. Unfortunately humanitarian organizations such as red cross did not have access to the area until the civil war ended in May 2009. Now the Sri Lanka red cross is working to rebuild houses and organizing mock drills for schools.

“When the announcement of a tsunami is made, I have to assist my friends in school to evacuate in an orderly manner to the identified assembly point", “I am very happy to be part of this simulation as it not only enhances my knowledge on safety; it also gives me an opportunity to do something for my community and family if a disaster does happen.” (Ragulesh 2015)

What Can You Do to Help?

  • In order to help, the Government of Canada encourages many to provide cash donations because they are one of the fastest most efficient ways to help those living in a disaster zone. They allow relief agencies to purchase supplies based on the specific needs of the affected population depending on the type of disaster
  • However the Government does not encourage donations of food, clothing and other goods because relief workers may waste valuable time sorting items, some goods may not be suitable for certain climates and out of date medical supplies or food can harm the health of those being assisted
  • You can also volunteer in the affected countries working with other relief workers rebuilding homes, schools, and facilities
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