Disasters explained

Severe weather events such as floods or droughts, or seismic events like volcanoes, have the potential to turn into disasters. And disasters affect thousands of people around the world each year.

From earthquakes and tsunamis through to conflicts and complex emergencies, these disasters can cause deaths, homelessness and massive population movements.

But why do extreme weather events occur, and what turns these into a disaster? How did some of the world’s worst conflicts begin? What are the devastating effects of disasters and climate change?

Explore our Disasters Explained series to discover the answers to these questions.

Disasters explained

See all disasters
Woman and child looking over flood waters in Pakistan
Disasters explained

Rethink disasters

When storms hit, earthquakes strike, or floods rage, disaster often follows – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Find out how we’re rethinking disaster and join our movement for change.

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Man sat on a car to avoid the floodwater

Why disasters are not natural

Read why we no longer use the term ‘natural disasters’, the definition of a disaster, and how we have come to change our language.

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Portrait of Pakistani man standing outside emergency tent
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When severe flooding caused devastation across the north and south of Pakistan, father of four, Abdul, lost his home and his livelihood. After receiving a ShelterBox tent, Abdul and his family told us they were joyful to have a roof over their heads.

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