Catastrophes - Natural and Man-Made Disasters

  • Peter J. Baxter


Natural disasters are a growing public health problem in the increasing number of events and the numbers of people affected. This chapter focuses on some of the background health issues behind this global trend as they apply to aid workers. Technological disasters differ in many important respects from natural disasters in their causes and health impacts, and their frequency is much lower as they are inherently preventable by engineers and government regulation. Avoiding technological disasters is more straightforward than mitigating natural hazards, but disaster workers should include both types of disaster in an all-hazards approach to planning and preparedness. Thus an earthquake may trigger the failure of a hazardous installation such as a nuclear reactor, or floodwaters may become contaminated with toxic materials. Man-made humanitarian emergencies from conflicts or political repression (complex disasters) may also be complicated by natural hazards, or responses to events such as floods in war zones can be inhibited by the threat of landmines.


Debris Flow Tropical Cyclone Natural Disaster Natural Hazard Storm Surge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag London 2002

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  • Peter J. Baxter

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