Environment and Disaster Management
    A sample of the cyclical interrelationships of disasters and the environment

    Hari Srinivas
    Case Study Series E-024. June 2015.

    Different types of disasters have different types of impacts on the environment, and vice versa, are exacerbated by different factors of the environment. The following table provides a quick snapshot of the various impacts and factors.

    Potential environmental impacts
    • Natural gas leaks, household and industrial chemical releases from damaged containers.
    • Damage to industrial facilities resulting in toxic release.
    • Building waste debris, and potential mix of hazardous materials
    Exacerbating environmental factors
    • Topography and land cover
    • Building codes and urban planning/urbanization processes
    Flood, storms, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones
    Potential environmental impacts
    • Sewage overflow and chemical releases from roads, farms and factories;
    • Hazardous debris chemicals, medical and other materials as disaster debris;
    • water-damaged household chemicals (paint, pesticides, solvents); unsafe water supplies
    • Ground and surface water contamination
    • Loss of topsoil due to rapid drain of runoff.
    Exacerbating environmental factors
    • Habitat and ecosystem destruction (e.g. coral reefs and mangroves)
    • Deforestation and water siltation
    • Urbanization and land use/land cover changes
    Forest fires
    Potential environmental impacts
    • Loss of biodiversity and ecologically sensitive habitats.
    • Air pollution from smoke and haze
    Exacerbating environmental factors
    • Climate change
    • Deforestation and land use/land cover changes
    Potential environmental impacts
    • Habitat and crop destruction
    • Water scarcity
    Exacerbating environmental factors
    • Urbanization and unsustainable resource consumption
    • Deforestation and land use/land cover changes
    Potential environmental impacts
    • Damage/deterioration of habitat ecosystems
    • Land use functions, including agriculture
    • Ground and surface water contamination
    Exacerbating environmental factors
    • Deforestation
    • Land use/land cover changes

Do you have any suggestions or additions to make on the above information? Please send an email to Hari Srinivas at hsrinivas@gdrc.org

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org