Standard Article

Natural Disasters

Hydrological Processes

  1. A.G. Davenport,
  2. G.A. Kopp

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.van005

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Davenport, A. and Kopp, G. 2006. Natural Disasters. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 3.

Author Information

  1. University of Western Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Natural disasters are the interaction of naturally occurring hazards with human population. Natural disasters are often defined in social and economic terms, one common definition being that the community involved cannot recover without external help. Meteorologist Joseph Golden of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that ‘a hazard only becomes a disaster when it occurs where people live’. Where people live is an important aspect of natural disasters because it defines the vulnerability to natural hazards. According to Flageollet, ‘vulnerability is often assessed in terms of the probable cost of the damage the hazard has done or may do’. The risk of a natural disaster is a combination of both the hazard and the vulnerability to the hazard.