What is a Disaster?
When discussing disasters, the first thing to realize is that there are various dictionary definitions of the word disaster, which although similar, they can be distinctly different. For example:
Disaster: Events that are relatively sudden, highly disruptive, time limited (although the effects may be longer lasting) and public (affecting children from more than one family). A disaster may be due to:
1) Natural causes, such as a hurricane or an earthquake.
2) A failure of technology, such as an airplane crash or the collapse of a bridge or building collapse.
3) An act of human violence, such as the destruction of the World Trade Center, or an act of war.
Children can be direct victims of violence, witnesses to violence or heirs to several generations of violence.
Adapted from the APA’s definition of disaster.
A disaster is a perceived tragedy, being either a natural calamity or man-made catastrophe. It is a hazard which has come to fruition.
S: (n) catastrophe, disaster (a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune) “lack of funds has resulted in a catastrophe for our school system”; “his policies were a disaster“
S: (n) calamity, catastrophe, disaster, tragedy, cataclysm (an event resulting in great loss and misfortune) “the whole city was affected by the irremediable calamity“; “the earthquake was a disaster“
S: (n) disaster (an act that has disastrous consequences)
As you can see from the multiple definitions of disaster above, the term disaster can mean different things to different people. We have all heard people speaking of a haircut disaster, a fashion disaster, and an earthquake, typhoon or hurricane as a disaster. What a disaster is to any person is a personal thing. How one handles, or in other words how a person or a family goes about surviving disasters, or what they do and how they react during and after a disaster is also a very personal matter.
Although developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by disasters occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural disasters are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries (Wikipedia) – it is also important to understand that a disaster can have a serious effect on even the most developed of countries, on many levels. We just need to look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to know this. The way one reacts during, and after a disaster can mean the difference between surviving disasters, or not surviving disasters.
Our sincere wish to you the reader, is that no matter what the disaster scenario, you understand how to survive disasters, no matter how big or small they may be. Forewarned is always forearmed, so visit here often, always be in a learning mode when it comes to surviving disasters. Understand thoroughly the disaster survival tips provided on this site. Get to know at least a minimum of survivalist skills and pay heed to the old Boy Scout motto – “be prepared!” On our site you will also be able to keep up with various news items, pulled from a wide variety of sources on disasters as they hit the news. Ask youself, if I had to survive that disaster, would I be able to? Further to help you at least minimally prepare for surviving disasters, we also recommend you browse our bookshop, which has many excellent non-fiction as well as fictional stories of disaster, disaster survival and post disaster survival skills. In our freebies section, there are many documents which can be freely downloaded to your computer, as well as printed out, which will also be of great reference in surviving disasters. You can also flip through our online store for excellent prices on a wide selection of disaster survival products, often at discounted prices. You never know when disaster will strike and possibly cause harm to you or those that you care about. Again – be prepared, and understand surviving disasters is a learned skill, in which at times you may need to be flexible enough mentally to be able to adjust to not only surviving the actual disasters, but the various post disaster scenarios and life after disaster.
Good sections to start learning about surviving disasters.