We all are well aware of the term disaster and what it does to us humans and the planet. It is a severe problem that develops over time and results in loss of life, property or resources. But we can’t always blame nature when it comes to crisis. Man made disasters as the name tells, are tragedies that are caused because of us humans, not mother nature.
The causes of human caused disasters are human actions, negligence, errors and structure failures which lead to major events or situations, causing damage to people and the environment.
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Types of man made disasters are –
- Oil Spill
- Nuclear And Radiation Accident
- Transportation Accidents
- Infrastructure Failures
- Civil Riots
- Industrial Accidents
Disasters are of two types : natural and man made disaster. The difference between natural and man made is that natural calamities are events that occur due to natural forces and are not in human control eg: earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, etc.
Whereas a man made disaster is caused by human actions and errors. The effect of man made tragedies can be equally dangerous like natural tragedies. The types and effect of man made disasters on people and environment are-
Types Of Man Made Disaster
It is a man made disaster which occurs when liquid petroleum hydrocarbons are released into the environment, typically in large quantities due to human activities such as tanker accidents, improper storage of oil, pipeline leakage.
An explosion is a sudden and violent release of energy caused by a chemical, nuclear or mechanical event. It results in a rapid expansion of gasses, shock waves, heat and the release of dangerous materials.
Eg : The Bombay explosion of 1944 is a prime example of man made disaster which took place in British India and resulted in 800-1300 deaths of people.
Nuclear And Radiation Accidents
Nuclear and radiation accidents refer to incidents involving the release of radioactive materials or the failure of nuclear equipment, resulting in radiation exposure. They are a very dangerous types of man made disaster which results in severe impacts such as genetic effects in humans, contamination of plants, animals and food chain.
Eg : The Chernobyl disaster, which occurred on April 26, 1986, was one of the most destructive man made disasters in history which took place in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It resulted in around 46 deaths, 237 workers were hospitalized, 15 childhood thyroid cancer deaths, etc.
Another example is the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which within 4 months killed 90,000-146,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000-80,000 in Nagasaki due to effects of the nuclear bombing.
In 2020, 25.8 million hectares of forest was lost which is double the amount of forest loss in 2001.
Pollution is indeed a man-made disaster that refers to the introduction of harmful substances into the environment, resulting in adverse effects on living organisms, ecosystems and the ecological balance.
Just like different types of man made disaster there are different forms of pollution like water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, etc. has affected the environment and human health severely with problems like respiratory problems, neurological disorders, cancer, etc.
Transportation accidents include various types of man made disaster eg : air, water, road accidents and sometimes cause huge destruction and damages. It is caused by many factors like human error, mechanical failures, infrastructure failure and operational mistakes. It can cause collisions, fires, explosions.
The very famous Titanic is a prime example of a water accident in man made types of disaster where the titanic ship hit an iceberg and sank within two hours and forty minutes resulting in the deaths of more than 1500 people.
The Titan, a submersible by OceanGate is one of the most talked about man made types of disaster, where on 18 June 2023, the submersible during its journey to see the remains of the Titanic is said to be imploded due to the cost-cutting methods used in its construction.
The famous Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is a puzzling air accident man made disaster where the Boeing 777 mysteriously disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 people on board.
The very famous Space Shuttle Columbia disaster is a tragic space accident man made crisis which carried Indian origin astronaut Kalpana Chawla along with 6 other members. The space shuttle exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
The reason of the accident is said to be the damage to the shuttle’s left wing, caused by a piece of foam insulation that had struck the orbiter’s left wing during its launch.
It is often categorized as a types of man made disaster. Infrastructure failures occur when crucial infrastructure parts such as bridges, dams, and buildings fail to function properly, resulting in disastrous consequences.
For eg – The collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Italy in 2018, is blamed on the constructional flaws and corrosion causing the deaths of 43 people.
Dam fails is also one of the man made disasters which occur due to inadequate maintenance, and design flaws. The Teton Dam failure in Idaho in 1976 is a well-known example of an infrastructure failure where the earthen embankment of the dam abruptly collapsed due to design and construction flaws.
Many building collapse has occurred due to poor construction or inadequate materials leading to fatalities and injuries. The Rana Plaza collapse is fatal example of man made adversity where an eight story commercial building collapsed due to structural deficiencies and poor construction.
Civil riot is a form of man made crisis characterized by widespread and often violent public protests, demonstrations, or clashes between different groups. These man made disasters also result in loss of life, injuries, property damage, disruption of daily life and a breakdown of law and order.
Eg : The Los Angeles riots of 1992 resulted in widespread violence, looting, arson, causing 63 deaths, thousands of injuries, and an estimated $1 billion of property damage.
Industrial accidents are man made disasters that occur within industrial facilities or settings and usually involve hazardous materials, processes, or machinery. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984 was one of the world’s deadliest industrial disasters.
A massive release of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas occurred because of equipment malfunctions, inadequate safety measures, and poor maintenance causing an estimate range of death from several thousand to over 15,000. It also affected crops, water sources, and soil.
Disaster Management Cycle
Whether it’s a natural or a man-made disaster, knowing how to deal with the problems that a calamity and other types of man made disaster has left behind is really important for the recovery and for that everyone should be aware about Crisis Management.
Disaster management reduces the impact the wreck has caused. It helps in implementing required measures and creates a safer environment for everyone. The disaster management cycle is a framework that describes the stages involved in managing and responding to adversities.
Stages Of Disaster Management Cycle
The disaster management cycle has four stages –
This stage involves developing plans, procedures and resources to respond to man made disasters. It includes activities such as creating emergency plans, training personnel, establishing communication systems and stocking necessary supplies.
Example of preparedness is fire drills which are used to make sure all students or employees know what to do in the event of a fire and where to go for a mass gathering outside the building.
This stage focuses on actions taken to prevent or reduce the impact of man made disasters. It involves identifying potential hazards, assessing risks and taking measures to minimize their occurrence or effects.
Examples of prevention include implementing safety regulations, improving infrastructure and conducting emergency drills.
The response stage takes place during the immediate occurrence of a man made disasters. It is the immediate response to a disaster. Actions during this phase include search and rescue operations, medical assistance, evacuation and activation of emergency plans. Its main aim is to save lives, protect property and stabilize the situation during many types of man made disaster.
The recovery stage focuses on bringing back affected communities to a stable and functional state which has been destroyed by natural or man made types of disaster. It involves rebuilding infrastructure, rehabilitating affected areas, providing assistance to affected individuals. Recovery activities may include repairing damaged buildings, medical assistance, offering financial help and providing counseling.
Man made disasters create significant risks and challenges for the humans and environment. By understanding the types, causes and potential risks of man made crisis we can learn man made disaster management cycle which includes implementing regulations, safety protocols and infrastructure improvements. This cycle helps in minimizing impact of calamities, protecting lives and supporting recovery. By following the stages of this cycle we can enhance our ability to manage man made crisis.
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