D2. Geophysical hazard risks


  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Mass movements

What are hazards?

Hazards are process or events that pose a threat to people, property and the environment. They can be natural or human induced. The important thing is that these processes or events only become hazards when there is the potential to cause significant harm to people (e.g. through injury, loss of life,  damage to property, socio-economic disruption or environmental degradation).

How do hazards differ from disasters?

A disaster takes place when a hazard actually causes significant harm to a community/region and the people in the affected community/region cannot deal with this harm adequately without outside help. The harm can be economic (costs of repairs), physical (damaged property), social (death, mental health and loss of support groups) and/or environmental.

Spatial extent of hazards

Visit the United Nations Environment Program map showing spatial extent of hazards globally.

unep.ch site also shows global distribution of earthquakes & volcanic eruptions.