"Natural hazards are severe natural phenomena or events, broadly classified in two categories: hydro-meteorological and geological hazards. Tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, floods and drought are hydro-meteorological hazards whereas earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are grouped under geological hazards. Landslides and avalanches are caused by a combination of geological and hydro-meteorological factors.
Hydro-meteorological hazards Occurring at different scales and across varying durations, hydro-meteorological hazards can range from seconds to several years and cover a localised area or thousands of kilometers (Fig 1). During 1980-2010, hydro-meteorological hazards accounted for 90 per cent of the total number of disasters, 70 per cent of causalities and 75 per cent of total economic losses (World Meteorological Organisation, 2006). Globally, 7870 hydro-meteorological related disasters were reported from 1970 to 2009, causing the loss of 1.9 million lives and economic damages amounting to 1.9 trillion USD (Fig 2) (WMO Bulletin 2013). [caption id=""attachment_12456"" align=""alignnone"" width=""750""] Fig. 1: Examples of the range and scales of natural hazards tha
Although natural hazards may occur anywhere, their impact in developing countries is greater due to the prevailing economic, social, political and cultural vulnerabilities. A mechanism of early warning will minimise or even prevent future losses caused by such occurrences.