Red Cross Sint Maarten

About disasters

The term ‘natural disaster’ is factually incorrect and misleading.

Here’s why:

The most widely used definition of a disaster has been developed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It states that a disaster is:

“A … sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources”.

This definition makes clear that a hazard can only become a disaster once it impacts on society or community. A hazard is natural, disasters are not. For instance, earthquakes, typhoons, and volcanoes are natural processes that have occurred for millions of years and are not controlled by humans.

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