Difference Between Natural Disaster and Man-Made Disaster

The word ‘Disaster’ is extracted from the French term desastre which signifies a ‘Bad or Evil Star.’


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A disaster is an unforeseen and catastrophic event that obstructs the functioning of a society causing serious damage to life and property including the destruction of the economy and environment.

As a result, it outdoes the potential of an affected society or a community to survive using its resources.

There are mainly two types of disaster namely, ‘Natural Disaster’ and ‘Man-made Disaster.’ The first one is caused by natural forces, and the other one is caused by man himself.

Key Takeaways

  1. Natural disasters are events caused by natural phenomena such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. In contrast, man-made disasters are caused by human activities such as industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, and war.
  2. Natural disasters are often unpredictable and difficult to prevent. In contrast, man-made disasters are usually the result of human error or negligence and can be prevented through proper planning, safety measures, and risk management.
  3. Natural disasters can cause widespread damage and loss of life, but man-made disasters can also have devastating consequences for human health, the environment, and the economy.

Natural Disaster vs Man-Made Disaster

Natural disasters are events that are caused by natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, and volcanic eruptions. Man-made disasters are events that are caused by human actions, such as industrial accidents, transportation accidents, nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks, and civil unrest.

Natural Disaster vs Man Made Disaster

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Nature is most commonly recognized as the medium of disasters that are known as ‘Natural Disasters’.

Examples of natural disasters are flood, tsunami, earthquake, cyclone, forest fire, avalanche, famine, and volcanic eruption, etc. Humans have no control over natural disasters, and they are expected to be uncontrollable.

Humans can be held responsible for some sorts of disasters that are termed as ‘Man-made Disasters.’

Disasters like nuclear explosions, train accidents, chemical spills, war, etc., are put under the category of man-made disaster. It is in the hands of humans to prevent man-made disasters by developing a strong disaster recovery plan.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNatural DisasterMan-Made Disaster
DefinitionIt is acknowledged as an impact of the unusual power of a natural agent.It is acknowledged as the impact of human negligence and uncaring actions.
MediumNatural ForcesHuman Error
IntensityUncontrollableCan be deterred
InterferenceCan be influenced by human actionsCan be boosted by natural forces
ForewarningNoticeable natural causes and prior measures can be takenObscure origin and no prior measures can be taken
Examples of major disasterFlood, volcanic eruptions, drought, cyclones, avalanches, etc.Nuclear explosion, war, chemical spills, etc.
Examples of minor disasterThunderstorms, mud slides, heat waves, cold waves, etc.Accidents in factories, industrial crisis, road accidents, etc.

What is Natural Disaster?

A catastrophic event that originates owing to vigorous forces of the natural processes of the earth is called ‘Natural Disaster.’ There are mainly five types of natural disasters, such as

  1. Geological (tsunami, landslides, earthquakes, etc.)
  2. Hydrological (floods)
  3. Climatological (drought, wildfires)
  4. Meteorological (cyclones, wave surges)
  5. Biological (epidemics, animal plagues, etc.)

Natural disasters are inevitable, but they arrive with prior notice nowadays which helps the disaster management as well as the government to make arrangements beforehand. Its impact can be minimized, taking pre-emptive measures for the regions which are more prone to it.

Countries with low income get excessively affected by natural disasters. Women and children are more susceptible to the after-effects of natural disasters, and millions of immensely poor people are anticipated to survive in the most hazard-prone countries in the coming years.

The influence of these types of hazards takes the form of natural disasters in populated regions.

Considering, when a cyclone hits a populated region taking away lives and demolishing abodes, the poor population is expected to be at the edge of losing everything as they lack in resources to start anew.

natural disaster

What is Man-Made Disaster?

A devastating event that occurs due to carelessness or harmful intentions of man is called ‘Man-made Disaster.’ It is also known as anthropogenic disaster or human induced disaster. This kind of disaster is further classified into four main categories, such as

  1. Societal disaster (terrorism, stampedes, was, etc.)
  2. Chemical disaster (Industrial accidents, explosions, etc.)
  3. Transportation disasters (shipwreck, airplane crash, train accidents, etc.)
  4. Environmental disaster (global warming, desertification, etc.)

Once man-made disasters come into being, it cannot be stopped to cause serious destruction to nearby or faraway places as it occurs in unexpected regions due to unknown reasons.

These disasters can be avoided by introducing significant measures and smart schemes, taking lessons from the previous experience.

Primarily, these kinds of disasters should not take place with a little alertness. Usually, they can’t be predicted. Man-made disasters invoke long-lasting effects on human civilization.

For instance, the ill-effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Tragedy were prevalent for a good number of years, harming generations after generations.

man made disaster

Main Differences Between Natural Disaster and Man-Made Disaster

  1. Natural disasters are dominated by natural agents, and the disasters owing to irresponsible behaviour or ill-will of humans are called man-made disasters.
  2. People become adapted to natural disasters accepting the fact that they cannot be controlled. Man-made disasters are hard to foretell but can be deterred with an adequate arrangement.
  3. Natural disasters are intervened by human civilization taking gigantic form, for example recent news of Monsoon Mayhem in Maharashtra which is undoubtedly a natural disaster but a result of the construction within the flood lines of the river. On the other hand, man-made disasters are heightened by the involvement of nature’s agents, like biological and chemical threats.
  4. Natural disasters are intervened by human civilization, taking gigantic form, for example, recent news of Monsoon Mayhem in Maharashtra, which is undoubtedly a natural disaster, but a result of the construction within the flood lines of the river. On the other hand, man-made disasters are heightened by the involvement of nature’s agents, like biological and chemical threats.
  5. The source of natural disaster is usually known, but that of man-made disaster is obscure in most cases.
Difference Between Natural Disaster and Man Made Disaster
  1. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/235/1/012071/meta
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/risk-factors-for-psychological-and-physical-health-problems-after-a-manmade-disaster/A25D9D19FCE8C083BA26BAC7EBF8915F

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