There is nothing “natural” about a disaster. Nature provides the hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and so on – but humans help create the disaster. We cannot prevent a volcanic eruption but we can prevent it from becoming a disaster.
A volcano that erupts in a middle of the wilderness, for example, is a natural hazard. But if it erupts near a large city it has the potential to turn into a disaster, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their communities.
Here are many ways to prevent or lessen the impact of a disaster: by integrating volcano risk in urban planning; reducing the number of people living close to a volcano; educating and alerting them about the dangers; preparing them to evacuate when the volcano erupts and; identifying shelters to protect them. These are all
measures covered within disaster risk reduction.
Once we understand that there is a difference between “natural hazard” and “disaster”, we then understand that disasters are mostly human-induced, and increasingly triggered by human activities such as deforestation, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and climate change.