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The increase in the frequency of natural disasters is the direct result of

human action. Disasters are not completely natural phenomena. Disasters
are directly correlated with development. Development impacts the
frequency and severity of disasters, exposing a growing proportion of the
worlds population to hazards. In the last half century, human
development has been characterized by rapid and unplanned urbanization
in the developing world. Ninety percent of global population growth is
taking place in the least developed countries. These countries do not have
the ability and resources to manage the high rate of urban growth.
Between 1950 and 2000, the urban population in developing countries
increased from less than 18 percent to more than 40 percent. By 2030,
the increase is expected to reach 60 percent. By 2010, eight out of ten of
the largest cities of the world will be in developing countries. The greatest
potential for disasters exists in the hundred most populous cities. Over
three-quarters of these are exposed to at least one natural hazard. No less
than seventy of these cities can expect, on average, a strong earthquake
at least once every fifty years (ISDR; 2002).
Unplanned and ill-planned urbanization has been the cause of
environmental degradation (e.g., deforestation), overexploitation of
natural resources (e.g., water), ecological disturbances (e.g., pollution),
and social destitution (e.g., increase in poverty). These factors turn
hazards into disasters. Increased population concentrations and
substandard construction increase the vulnerability of the built
environment and the fragility of socioeconomic systems. Land use and
urban development practices often do not take into account susceptibility
to natural hazards. United Nations statistics indicate that in the 1990s,
close to 70 percent of construction in developing countries was built
illegally. Hence, year after year, exposure to natural hazards increases as
a result of unsustainable development.
In industrialized and transition countries the non-sustainable over- use of
resources causes pollution and ultimately leads to changes in the global
changes in the environment.
In particular, there is an increasing likelihood of human induced climate
change, which according to the latest projection of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change will result in more water-related disasters, in
particular for countries in tropical and sub-tropical latitudes. These
changes in temperature and related local rainfall variations affect on the
one hand the environment, through accelerated desertification and
degradation, and on the other hand gender specific, socio-economic
factors, such as water resources, human health, agriculture and fisheries.
In addition, climate change is expected to affect sea levels and climate
extremes. All these factors have a compound effect on the occurrence and
impact of disasters. On the one hand, they affect the intensity and
frequency of extreme hydro-meteorological events and on the other hand,

they increase the vulnerability of societies. Particularly sensitive regions

such as mountainous and coastal zones, as well as island countries, are
especially at risk.
Sea-level rising will further exacerbate this situation in small islands and
low-lying coastal areas. Storm surges may have increased coastal erosion
and damage to human settlements because of the removal or damage of
natural protective elements, such as mangroves, reefs and dunes. It is
known that more than one third of the world population live within 100 km
of coastline and many are under threat.
Rapid urban growth, in particular, when accompanied by the influx of
huge stream of poor migrants from rural areas is one of the main factors
contributing towards increased vulnerability to natural hazards in many
parts of the world. The accelerated, and often uncontrolled, growth of
cities has contributed to the ecological transformation of their immediate
surroundings (pressure on scarce land, deforestation, etc.) In addition, the
lack of appropriate drainage systems and/or sealing (use of concrete and
asphalt) increase the volume and speed of rainfall runoff thus making
many cities more vulnerable to flash floods. Other factors contributing to
the urban vulnerability include: lowering or rising of the water table,
subsidence, loss of bearing capacity of soil foundations and instability of
The destruction of the natural sources of life is one of the factors that
forces people to seek a new future elsewhere, for example by migrating to
urban areas or uncultivated regions. In the 1990s, 60 to 70% of
urbanization was unplanned, often in areas, which are adjacent to
industrial zones, known to be highly seismic or flood prone. Femaleheaded households are often disproportionately represented in these
informal settlements. In the past three decades, the urban population of
developing countries has tripled to 1.3 billion. More and more populations
are forced, through lack of choice, to expand into disaster prone areas
such as flood plains, unstable hillsides and deforested lands, therefore
causing disproportionate setbacks to the economies and livelihoods of the
affected communities and nations when disasters strikes.
Recent catastrophic earthquakes highlight other key deficiencies and
trends in the approach to disaster risk reduction, such as a poor
understanding by decision makers of seismic related risk, as well as the
tendency of some builders, to use the cheapest designs and construction
materials to increase short-term economic returns on their investment.


1. Cataclysmic floods in the northern state of Uttarakhand in
On the face of it, the floods seem like a calamity that was
unpreventable. The Indian meterological department reported a
record rainfall of 385 mm during the first few weeks of June, which is
440 per cent over the usual rainfall. But green groups say that while
a cloudburst may have been the immediate cause of floods,
the region has been slowly eroded by rampant development. Too
many roads, hotels and buildings have caused the valley to collapse
like a stack of dominoes. The government is blaming a massive
"tsunami", but this easy blame masks its criminal neglect of disaster
systems and history of ignoring danger signs. A report released by
the Comptroller and Auditor General in April 2013 revealed that the
State Disaster Management Authority has never met, has received
no funds, and has framed no plan to cope with disaster, despite a
series of deadly landslides over the past few years.
Development in the Himalayas has long been contentious. Both the
ruling Congress party and the opposition BJP party have insisted
that the people of Uttarakhand want, nay need, development. On 18
December 2012 the Ministry of Environment and Forests declared a
135 km stretch along the river as an eco-sensitive zone, which
meant that construction along the river, especially hotels and
hydropower projects, would be banned. But the Uttarakhand
Ministry passed a resolution against the zone, and chief minister
Vijay Bahuguna hastily met the prime minister to argue that the
order was opposed by local people because it would affect their
livelihoods. End result: the order was ignored by the state

2. Fukushima accident in Japan, 2011earthquake n tsunami..vinu

3. Indian Ocean Tsunami, with deforestation..vinu
4. Hurricane Mitch, with deforestation..vinu
5. Shrisshti
6. Shrisshti
7. Shrisshti
8. Shivika
9. Shivika

In sum, the following factors correlate natural disasters and sustainable

Poor land management

Increased population concentrations in hazard areas
Environmental mismanagement, resulting in environmental
Lack of regulation and a lack of enforcement of regulation
Social destitution and social injustice
Unprepared populations and unprepared institutions
Inappropriate use of resources

In addition to that the natural disasters result in:

Domino effect: natural hazards can trigger technological hazards,
which in turn cause and environmental and humanitarian disaster. In
major industrial infrastructure areas, extreme natural hazards such as
earthquakes or floods can result in environmental disasters, a fact not
given due consideration in some regions. This should be taken into
account in all aspects of risk assessment (environment, humanitarian and
technological risk assessment).
Globalization effect: Current trends towards a globalized society have
made societies much more dependent on services and infrastructure life
lines, in both urban and rural areas, including transportation, water,
electric, gas, drainage, storage facilities and communication networks. A
failure of these services due to natural or other disasters can have
considerable consequences even for people in areas not directly affected.

The concentration of political, economic and other resources and assets in

one urban area can have national, regional or even international
repercussions. Women are primary users of social services and
infrastructure in support of their families. Failures in these systems affect
them profoundly, and help account for why women are so often organized
at the local level to improve and make more secure vitally needed
So there is an immediate need to adopt sustainable development to
mitigate the risk of natural disasters. At stake are not only our lives but
also the future generations.