Disasters, History of

Disasters have always been part of human experience, the adversities that are inevitable in life. The word disaster, “ill starred,” implies great misfortune, catastrophe on a grand scale, although more personal disasters may also affect individuals. Historical accounts have drawn together accounts of specific disasters such as earthquakes, floods, great storms, fires, and other outcomes of forces of nature. Pestilence, plague, and disease have been classed as disasters, through the deaths they bring and the fear they generate. Implicit in such events are deaths and destruction at a level that overwhelms the resources of individuals and communities. There are many sources of disaster. The disasters of war and conflict have grown—for many reasons. With the technological advances of society, human-made disasters have been added—the result ...

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