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Natural Hazards and Disasters: Mitigation Strategies | UGC NET Paper 1

Natural Hazards and Disasters: Mitigation Strategies
Natural Hazards and Disasters: Mitigation Strategies

Natural hazards are severe and extreme weather and climate events that occur naturally in all parts of the world, although some regions are more vulnerable to certain hazards than others. Natural hazards become natural disasters when people’s lives and livelihoods are destroyed.

Natural Hazards and Disasters

Natural hazards and Disasters events can be grouped into two broad categories:

Geophysical hazards encompass Geological and Meteorological phenomena such as earthquakes, coastal erosion, volcanic eruption, cyclonic storms, and drought.

Biological hazards can refer to a diverse array of disease and infestation. Other natural hazards such as floods and wildfires can result from a combination of geological, hydrological, and climatic factors.

UNIT IX – People, Development and Environment (Click below on the topic to read the study notes)
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Geological Hazards


An avalanche occurs when large snow (or rock) mass slides down a mountainside. An avalanche is an example of a gravity current consisting of granular material. In an avalanche, lots of material or mixtures of different types of material fall or slide rapidly under the force of gravity. Avalanches are often classified by the size or severity of consequences resulting from the event.


An earthquake is a phenomenon that results from a sudden release of stored energy that radiates seismic waves. At the Earth’s surface, earthquakes may manifest with shaking or displacement of the ground; when the earthquake occurs on the seafloor, the resulting displacement of water can sometimes result in a tsunami. Most of the world’s earthquakes (90%, and 81% of the largest) take place in the 40,000-km-long, horseshoe-shaped zone called the circum-Pacific seismic belt, also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, which for the most part bounds the Pacific Plate. Many earthquakes happen each day, few of which are large enough to cause significant damage.


A tsunami is also known as a seismic sea wave or as a tidal wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Tsunamis can be caused by undersea earthquakes such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, or by landslides such as the one in 1958 at Lituya Bay, Alaska, or by volcanic eruptions such as the ancient eruption of Santorini. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami occurred near Fukushima, Japan and spread through the Pacific.

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion is a physical process by which shorelines in coastal areas around the world shift and change, primarily in response to waves and currents that can be influenced by tides and storm surge. Coastal erosion can result from long-term processes as well as from episodic events such as tropical cyclones or other severe storm events.


A lahar is a type of natural event closely related to a volcanic eruption and involves a large amount of material originating from an eruption of a glaciated volcano, including mud from the melted ice, rock, and ash sliding down the side of the volcano at a rapid pace. These flows can destroy entire towns in seconds and kill thousands of people, and form flood basalt. This is based on natural events.


A landslide is the movement of rock, earth, or debris down a sloped section of land. Landslides are caused by rain, earthquakes, volcanoes, or other factors that make the slope unstable.


A sinkhole is a localized depression in the surface topography, usually caused by the collapse of a subterranean structure such as a cave. Although rare, large sinkholes that develop suddenly in populated areas can lead to the collapse of buildings and other structures.

Volcanic Eruption

A volcanic eruption is a point in which a volcano is active and releases its power, and the eruptions come in many forms. They range from daily small eruptions which occur in places like Kilauea in Hawaii, to mega-colossal eruptions (where the volcano expels at least 1,000 cubic kilometres of material) from super-volcanoes like Lake Taupo (26,500 years ago) and Yellowstone Caldera. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, 70 to 75 thousand years ago, a supervolcanic event at Lake Toba reduced the human population to 10,000 or even 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a bottleneck in human evolution. Some eruptions from pyroclastic flows, which are high-temperature clouds of ash and steam that can travel down mountainsides at speed exceeding an airliner.

Meteorological Hazards

These are another list under natural hazards and disasters.


A blizzard is a severe winter storm icy and windy conditions characterized by low temperature, strong wind and heavy snow.


Scientists warn that global warming and climate change may result in more extensive droughts in coming years. These extensive droughts are likely to occur within the African continent due to its very low precipitation levels and high climate.


A hailstorm is a natural hazard where a thunderstorm produces numerous hailstones which damage the location in which they fall. Hailstorms can be especially devastating to farm fields, ruining crops and damaging equipment.


A heatwave is a hazard characterized by heat which is considered extreme and unusual in the area in which it occurs. Heatwaves are rare and require specific combinations of weather events to take place, and may include temperature inversions, katabatic winds, or other phenomena. There is potential for longer-term events causing global warming, including stadial events (the opposite to glacial “ice age” events), or through human-induced climatic warming.


A maelstrom is a very powerful whirlpool. It is a large, swirling body of water with considerable downdraft. There are virtually no documented accounts of large ships being sucked into a maelstrom, although smaller craft and swimmers are in danger. Tsunami-generated maelstroms may even threaten larger crafts.

Cyclonic Storm

Hurricane, tropical cyclone and typhoon are different names for the same phenomenon: a cyclonic storm system that forms over the oceans. It is caused by evaporated water that comes off the ocean and becomes a storm. The Coriolis effect causes the storms to spin, and a hurricane is declared when this spinning mass of storms attains a wind speed greater than 74 mph (119 km/h). Hurricane is used for these phenomena in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans, tropical cyclone in the Indian, and typhoon in the western Pacific.

Ice storm

An ice storm is a particular weather event in which precipitation falls as ice, due to atmospheric conditions. It causes damage.


A tornado is a natural disaster resulting from a thunderstorm. Tornadoes are violent, rotating columns of air which can blow at speeds between 50 mph (80 km/h) and 300 mph (480 km/h), and possibly higher. Tornadoes can occur one at a time or can occur in large tornado outbreaks associated with supercells or in other large areas of thunderstorm development. Waterspouts are tornadoes occurring over tropical waters in light rain conditions.

Geomagnetic storm

Geomagnetic storms can disrupt or damage technological infrastructure and disorient species with magnetoception.


A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water. They are connected to a towering cumuliform cloud or a cumulonimbus cloud. In the common form, it is a non-supercell tornado over water


A flood results from an overflow of water beyond its normal confines of a body of water such as a lake, or the accumulation of water over land areas.


Wildfire is a fire that burnt in an uncontrolled and unplanned manner. Wildfires can result from natural occurrences such as lightning strikes or from human activity.

Natural Hazards and Disasters by High Powered Committee (HPC) in India

High Powered Committee (HPC) was constituted in August 1999 under the chairmanship of J.C. Pant. The mandate of the HPC was to prepare comprehensive model plans for natural hazards and disasters management at the national, state and district levels. This was the first attempt in India towards a systematic comprehensive and holistic look at all disasters.

Thirty-odd disasters have been identified by the HPC, which were grouped into the following five categories, based on generic considerations:

1. Water and Climate3. Biological
Tornadoes and hurricanes (cyclones)
Heatwave and cold wave
Snow avalanches
Sea erosion
Thunder/ lightning
Pest attacks
Cattle epidemics
Food poisoning
4. Chemical, industrial and nuclear
Chemical and Industrial disasters
5. Accidental
Forest fires
Urban fires
Mine flooding
Oil spill
Major building collapse
Serial bomb blasts
Festival related disasters
Electrical disasters and fires
Air, road, and rail accidents
Boat capsizing
Village fire
2. Geological
Landslides and mudflows
Large fires
Dam failures and dam bursts
Mine fires

Mitigation Strategies for Natural Hazards and Disasters

Mitigation Strategies: Government of India Initiatives

These two topics are very important for UGC NET PAPER 1. To find Comprehnesive study materials for MITIGATION STRATEGIES FOR Natural Hazards and disasters and Government of India Intiatives.


〈〈〈 Natural and energy resources: Solar, Wind, Soil, Hydro, Nuclear etc.


Related Topics:

UGC NET Syllabus (Updated): Paper 1 and 2
Solved Question Papers of UGC NET Paper 1
UGC NET Study Materials for Paper 1 (Download PDF)
MPhil and PhD Fellowship

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