Without a doubt, a natural disaster essay is a tough paper to write.


Well, to begin with, the topic itself isn’t that fun. It also requires thorough research. And checking the facts you’re going to put in your essay is essential.

We’re not saying that you have to expend less effort to write other types of papers. But a disaster essay is one that’s not that simple. It needs a bit more attention (contact our custom writing company if you need help with a natural disaster essay).

This is going to be a narrative essay. It will tell about events that may have dramatically changed people’s lives. Disasters can affect hundreds, thousands, and sometimes even millions. And not in the best way. Disasters usually strike unexpectedly. Even if people are aware of them and take some preventive measures.

But there’s another side to the story.

By bringing up the topic of natural disasters, you can also explain how to cope with them. The same with man-made calamities. Because if there’s a problem, you have to find a way out. Getting ready for a disaster is one of the phases of disaster management. And you can talk about it in disaster management papers.

Quote Kate Novitsky

So, that’s what we’re going to discuss today.

We’ll tell you about what you should include in your essay. After all, content plays an immensely important role in this type of paper. We’ll also list all the different kinds of disasters you can use for your topic. Both natural and man-made ones.

That’s not all.

Of course, there’s no point to giving a list of types of disasters without telling what to do in case something happens. So, there’s also a section describing disaster management. And the possible preventive measures to avoid catastrophe.

One more thing.

We’ll give out some of the sources that are going to be useful in the process of writing your disaster essay. It will also be helpful for those who became victims of a disaster and need help. Or, at least, know where to ask for assistance in case something bad happens.

Let’s get straight down to business.

1.  📑  Disaster Essay Plan

We’re not going to waste your time telling you how important it is to prepare your paper beforehand. And how you’ll benefit from knowing what to include in your essay before starting to write.

If you’re working on such a serious topic, you’re probably aware of all the ins and outs of essay writing. It’s a common assignment in schools.


Everyone can still use a little reminder. It’s easy—here’s a helpful article on how to write an essay you can check out.

Done? Great!

Let’s see what information your natural disaster essay should include.

1.1  Start with the Basics

We skipped it in this post, but you shouldn’t do this in your essay.

Start with some general facts. A natural disaster definition would be a good beginning. Tell about various types of disasters, too. You can also provide information about a national disaster of your choice. Tell about countries that suffer from it more frequently than others do. Like India, Japan, etc.

You can also write a quick rundown of the latest natural disasters.

1.2  Go into More In-Depth Details

Provide specific details about the catastrophe you’ve decided to describe. The locations where it can happen, causes of natural disasters, and more.

Hurricane Harvey
Source: Harvey Costs Projected to Rise to $42 Billion

You can also tell about various effects this particular disaster can have. Both on the environment and in people’s lives. There are also all sorts of aspects you can discuss. Such as the disaster’s effect on transportation, infrastructure, economy, and so on. Worldwide statistics data will be of incredible use in this part of your essay.

Another thing you can do is as follows:

You can compare the disaster in question with other ones of the same type. Talk about the effects and damages caused by those disasters. Include how people dealt with the aftermath. Provide a couple of examples to prove your point.

Be sure to provide as many details as possible. As a result, your essay is maximally useful.

1.3  Talk About Disaster Management

Now, you can pass to the details of the process of disaster management.

To be more specific, you’re going to tell your readers what to do in case a disaster happens. And what types of disaster management are available.

Disaster Poof Village
Source: Pakistan’s Punjab builds model villages to withstand disasters

In this part of your essay on disaster management, you will have to tell about the phases that the process includes. They are:

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

We’ll talk more about disaster management later on in this post, so keep reading.

1.4  Make Your Disaster Essay Even More Helpful

Do you want to make your disaster management essay more informative and impressive? Then tell about various organizations that deal with managing disasters.

Again, we’ll cover that topic in more detail in another chapter of our post.

For now, we’re just giving the general idea of what your essay is supposed to look like.

Say a few words about the following organizations:

You can also tell about national organizations and agencies. Like India’s NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority). Its purpose is to take required measures in case natural or man-made disasters occur.

1.5  Finish on a High Note

You don’t want your essay on natural disasters to leave a bitter impression after reading it. No matter how long your paper is—200 words, 300 words, or a thousand. It’s important to deliver a positive message.

And here’s the solution.

You can tell about the lessons that catastrophic events you’ve described teach us, as human beings. Thinking about consequences is of particular importance. Especially if we talk about man-made disasters. The fact that they happen acts as a form of proof. Proof that people make a significant impact on the environment. And that impact is sometimes far from good.

Quote Nathaniel Philbrick

But this conclusion doesn’t have to be depressing. Imagine you’re giving a speech on natural disasters. There’s a use for the lessons we’ve learned and conclusions we’ve made. This knowledge can prevent the same events from happening in the future.

Even with natural disasters, the experience people get from dealing with them is priceless. It can also remind us how fragile our lives are, and how important it is to cherish what we have.

This is the kind of mood you can evoke to conclude your disaster essay.

It may seem unnecessary, but it will leave readers with positive thoughts after they finish reading your paper.

But don’t forget.

You still need to sum up everything you were talking about earlier in your essay. And draw a clear conclusion. So, make sure that you don’t finish your piece with an entirely pointless rambling or introduce a new thought or concept.

2.  📢  Disasters to Talk About

As we’ve mentioned earlier, disasters are divided into two categories—natural and man-made.

Natural disasters are phenomenon or processes that occur as a result of a force of nature and hurt the environment and people. They can cause injuries, damage to property, environmental damage, and loss of life or other health impacts.

As the world’s population continues to grow, the severity and frequency of natural disasters increases.

This is an especially big problem for developing countries. A set of various factors only makes things worse.

Those factors include the following: climate characteristics, vulnerable areas with non-engineered construction, unstable landforms, inadequate communication, and budgetary restrictions to prevent disasters.

It’s fair to mention the following: Natural disasters happen regardless of human actions. But the inability to prevent them brings about man-made consequences. If people had enough resources and possibilities, there would be a chance to avoid catastrophe. And to make the consequences less disastrous.

What are the causes of a natural disaster?

There are two types of natural disasters. Geological hazards (involving geological processes). And meteorological hazards (or climate hazards).

Man-made disasters (also known as anthropogenic) are events caused by the action or inaction of humans. These disasters also affect the environment, humans, other organisms, and ecosystems.

Power Station

Man-made disasters differ in scale and severity. Speaking of classification, we can divide man-made disasters into types, too. They are societal, accidents related to hazardous materials, transportation disasters, and environmental hazards.

There’s one important aspect you need to know.

If we speak about events that can be caused by human actions or inactions, but which haven’t yet happened—those are hazards.

But if a hazard becomes a reality, then it’s called a disaster. This is also true about natural disasters. The only difference is that a natural disaster can happen regardless of human actions. And the only option here is to take measures to minimize the adverse effects of it.

Another thing worth mentioning is that sometimes natural calamities can be made worse by humans. It’s also possible that one disaster leads to another. Even from a different category, depending on circumstances.

Let’s now move to describing disasters themselves to give you ideas for your future essay.

3.  🌪️  Natural Disasters

3.1  Geological Hazards

  1. Earthquake

    An earthquake is characterized by shaking or displacement of the ground. If it happens on the sea, an earthquake can often result in a tsunami. The cause of an earthquake is a sudden release of energy from lithospheric plates that lead to seismic waves.

    Earthquake Statistics

  2. Avalanche
    An avalanche is a huge mass of snow or rock that slides down a mountain. This rapid slide or falling of material is due to the force of gravity. People usually consider the size of the avalanche and some harmful consequences caused by it. They use the information to classify this natural disaster.
  3. Lahar
    This natural event is closely related to a volcanic eruption. It involves a large mass of material from a glaciated volcano eruption. It slides rapidly away from the volcano. The material usually includes rocks, ash, and mud from the melted ice. These kinds of flows are capable of destroying entire small towns, forming flood basalts.
  4. Coastal erosion
    This is a process that involves shifting or changing of shoreline in coastal areas. Coastal erosion is usually caused by currents and waves. Those result from storm surges and tides. It can also be a consequence of severe tropical cyclones. Long-term processes like beach evolution are also a cause.
  5. Landslide
    This is a massive ground movement that can include slope failure, falling rocks, or debris flows. Landslides can also happen in coastal areas or underwater. The original driving force of such an event is gravity. But quite often, landslides are a cause of other factors that decrease the stability of slopes.
  6. Volcanic eruption

    This happens during the active state of a volcano. Eruptions may come in various forms. There can be small daily explosions or less frequent ones, but with a much larger amount of material erupted. Apart from that, volcanoes can form pyroclastic flows. Those are hot clouds consisting of steam and ash. They descend from the mountain at very high speed.

    Volcanic Eruption
    Source: How many active volcanoes are there on Earth?
  7. Sinkhole
    A localized depression in the surface is called a sinkhole. The most usual cause of sinkholes is the collapse of a subterranean structure (like a cave). They appear rarely, but suddenly. They can bring a great deal of damage to highly populated areas. Especially with lots of buildings that can collapse.

3.2  Meteorological Hazards

  1. Hailstorm
    A hailstorm happens when hailstones (balls of ice) are produced during a thunderstorm. Hailstones are damaging to locations where they fall. The consequences are especially severe if the hailstorm rains down on a farm field. It can damage equipment and ruin crops.
  2. Blizzard
    A blizzard is a severe storm in winter. It is characterized by heavy snow, strong winds, and low temperatures. It’s different from normal windy weather with snow. A blizzard usually lasts for three or more hours. And the speed of wind is at least 35 mph. There’s also a ground blizzard. The snow isn’t falling but is instead lifted from the ground and blown around during it.
  3. Heatwave

    This is a rare phenomenon. It involves masses of hot air appearing in an area where such temperatures are unusual. Or even extreme. Heat waves arise due to a combination of multiple weather events. They include katabatic winds and temperature inversions.

    Fact about Heat Waves
    Source: 11 Facts About Heat Waves
  4. Drought
    This is a period of low precipitation. It results in shortages of water supply, including atmospheric water, groundwater, and surface water. Droughts can last for quite a long time, ranging from months to years. It’s harmful to the region’s economy, agriculture and ecosystem.
  5. Ice storm
    A type of winter storm that involves freezing rain. The main characteristic of an ice storm is that the ice accumulates on surfaces. The rain itself isn’t severe. And the temperature is just below freezing. But it can still bring a lot of damage. Glaze ice covers all the surfaces, adding extra weight. It results in fallen branches or even whole trees. The weight of the ice also snaps power lines and breaks power or utility poles.
  6. Cyclonic storm
    This phenomenon comes in different forms and under various names: typhoon, hurricane, tropical cyclone. But all those names mean practically the same thing. This is a storm system that forms over the ocean because of evaporated water. The storm also spins due to the Coriolis effect. The average wind speed is 74 mph. This is probably one of the most common U.S. natural disasters.
  7. Tornado

    This natural disaster usually comes as a result of a thunderstorm. It’s a rotating air column. The airspeed in it ranges from 50 mph up to 300 mph (and sometimes even higher). They can appear one at a time, or in clusters or outbreaks. Tornadoes can happen both on the land and over the water. It’s easy to find videos of this disaster online to understand how severe it can get.

    Tornadoes have been reported in GB, India, Argentina and other countries. The most occur in US.
  8. Geomagnetic storm
    This is a temporary interruption of the planet’s magnetosphere. The primary cause of it is a solar wind shockwave. It forms a magnetic field cloud. And it goes into interaction with the magnetic field of the Earth. It can cause electrical systems disruptions and affect communication, satellite, and navigation systems.
  9. Wildfire
    This is an unplanned fire that burns uncontrollably. Wildfire can be a consequence of either natural events or human activity. There are many natural phenomena that can cause a fire. These include rockfall sparks, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and spontaneous combustion.
  10. Flood
    This is an overflow of water in areas that are typically dry. It usually happens due to rivers, lakes or oceans spilling out of their boundaries. Or because of rainwater that accumulates on the saturated ground. Floods can have different development speeds, from slow ones, to flash floods that can start in a matter of minutes. Numerous documental movies have enough evidence of floods being a serious issue for people. Regardless of whether they live in a developed country or not.

4.  ⚡  Man-Made Disasters

4.1  Societal Hazards

Most societal hazards can be prevented by taking proper measures and actions. These hazards usually appear due to anti-social and criminal behavior. It all can be reported if spotted at the right time.

Civil disorder
Source: 47 countries witness surge in civil unrest – trend to continue in 2020: Political Risk Outlook 2020
  1. Civil disorder
    This broad term covers any disturbance that involves a large number of people that all have a common aim. Reasons for such disorders vary widely. The disorder is mainly hazardous for specific groups of people. For those directly involved in it, for people controlling it, and for passers-by. For those staying out of the disorder, it’s usually not dangerous.
  2. Crimes
    Crimes involve behavior that imposes a risk of injury or death for other people. Another risk factor is the difficulty of preventing such behavior. It depends on many factors, such as place and time.
  3. Terrorism
    Terrorism is the use of violence to achieve individual goals. Threatening the use of violence is also considered terrorism. The individual goals vary from ideological, to religious and political. The greatest danger of terrorism is that anyone can be a target. From regular citizens to government officials.
  4. War
    It’s a conflict between large groups of people that involves the use of weapons. War results in destroyed countries, cities, economies, and cultures. Wars can easily be considered some of the worst disasters in history. Regardless of their origin.
  5. Engineering hazards
    Engineering hazards include failure of structures that people use. Or the use of hazardous materials. The failure can often be the result of poor structural design. The involvement of inexperienced workers is another reason for it. Low quality of materials used can also cause an engineering hazard.
  6. Industrial hazards
    Industrial hazards usually include accidents resulting from the release of hazardous materials. Those accidents often happen in a commercial context. They endanger the lives of people involved in the accident. Industrial hazards also have an environmental impact and can harm people close to the disaster.
  7. Fire

    Even a fire that started as a result of natural events can turn into a man-made disaster. Especially if people ignore it and don’t take any action to stop it. Fires can also start due to negligence or arson (starting a fire with a goal of causing damage).

  8. Waste disposal

    There’s a single major cause of this problem. It’s putting hazardous materials into commercial and domestic waste streams.

  9. Power outage

    This is an interruption of electrical energy sources. Short-term (up to a couple of hours) outages don’t have much of an adverse effect. While long-term ones influence personal and business activities. It can also cause emergencies in medical and rescue services. Extended power outages usually occur due to natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods.

    Natural disasters
    Source: Before And After The Storm

4.2  Hazards Related to Dangerous Materials

  1. Toxic Metals
    Those include metals and salts of metals. Elements such as copper, mercury, lead, and transuranic metals, may expose humans to toxicity. It has a long-term negative influence on health. The longer the exposure—the worse the effect.
  2. CBRN
    This acronym is referring to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. The term usually describes a terror threat with the usage of mentioned hazards.
  3. Organohalogens
    These are synthetic organic molecules that contain atoms of halogens. They were considered to be harmless when first produced. But they have a negative physiological effect on organisms in the long run. Some of the compounds are also soluble and can make it into the food chain.
  4. Radioactive materials

    Such materials are capable of producing ionizing radiation. Which has an extremely harmful effect on living organisms. Even a short exposure to radioactive materials can have long-term health consequences.

    Regular Nuclear Power Plant
    Source: Nuclear Energy in the U.S

4.3  Transportation Hazards

Transportation hazards include disastrous events that can happen anywhere. On the road, in aviation, on railways, in sea travel, and even in space. There are a number of reasons that can cause a crash. From mechanism malfunctions to trivial inattention or carelessness. Such catastrophes not only endanger the people involved in them. They also have a negative effect on the environment, for example when freight vehicles are involved.

4.4  Environmental Hazards

A man-made disaster is classified environmental if it affects ecosystems and biomes. Such disasters include air pollution, uncontrollable de-forestation, oil spills, and water pollution.

5.  👨‍💼  Disaster Management

You have enough topics and ideas for your disaster essay now. It’s time to talk about how to manage those disasters.

But what is a good disaster management definition?

Disaster management is the management and organization of responsibilities and resources. Its goal is to deal with humanitarian aspects of an emergency. It’s also known as emergency management. The primary goal is to minimize the negative effects of hazards and disasters.

We’ve already given you a hint about the stages of the disaster management process.


We’re going to look at it in more details, so you have a better understanding of what it is all about.

Remember, you should mention it in your natural disaster essay, too.

A quick reminder. There are five stages of the disaster management process. Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Let’s see what each of these stages entails.

5.1  Prevention

The name of this stage explains its purpose. Its primary focus is on preventing the hazards and potential natural disasters.

Quote By Benjamin Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Measures are usually taken on different scales. Including international and domestic levels. They’re designed to provide reliable protection from possible disasters.

Of course, it isn’t possible to stop all disasters. But there’s always a chance to minimize the risks of injuries and loss of life. All thanks to environmental planning, evacuation plans, and the introduction of certain design standards.

5.2  Mitigation

Mitigation measures are those that are taken before a disaster or emergency situation happens. It’s aimed at reducing or eliminating the risks and impact a hazard can have. Both on people and the environment.

Mitigation measures come in different forms depending on the hazard itself.

Here are some examples of possible actions:

  • Structural changes to buildings
  • Securing items inside buildings
  • Installation of generators
  • Construction of shelters
  • Large-scale mitigation measures on the national level

5.3  Preparedness

Petra Nemcova Quote

The focus of this stage is to prepare supplies and equipment. It also involves developing usage procedures when a disaster happens.

The major goal is to reduce the level of people’s vulnerability to a disaster. Also, to mitigate a disaster’s impact. And to be able to have a more effective response in case of emergency.

Organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) even develop a disaster management plan. They also make disaster supply kit lists. Other agencies and organizations use them to teach people how to help each other. Or they modify those plans to increase their effectiveness. Those can be found on the web in the form of downloadable PDF files or printed handouts.

5.4  Response

The Response stage aims at fulfilling the humanitarian needs of the population affected by a disaster.

Depending on the consequences, anyone can provide such assistance. Including individuals, organizations, national and international agencies.

Humanitarian aid water drink

The most important part of the proper response is an effective coordination of assistance. Especially if there’s a misbalance in the amounts of demand and the available responses.

In case of massive and overwhelming disasters, donations play a crucial role in the response process. Donations range from all kinds of gifts to money (which is the most efficient type of donation).

5.5  Recovery

This stage begins after the threat to human life is gone. The goal here is to bring the affected area back to normal condition. As quickly and efficiently as possible.

This stage usually involves numerous processes. The reconstruction of buildings, refilling food availability, and preparation of the equipment for example.

6.  ℹ️  Helpful Resources

There’s one last thing we wanted to share with you today.

It’s a list of resources that you may find useful while writing your disaster essay.

These resources can also help natural disaster victims. Or those who just want to be aware of all the necessary information in case something bad happens.

These resources provide information about prevention of natural disasters and what types of assistance are available. How to find missing friends or family members. What are the ways of recovering after disaster strikes. There are also community resources that can help with recovery.

Hopefully, you’ve found this guide on natural disaster essay writing useful.

With its help, you’ll be able to write an outstanding essay that covers all the necessary aspects. From characteristics of a particular disaster to managing its effect properly.

If you have any thoughts on writing disaster essays—make sure to leave a comment about it below. You can also leave a comment if you want to share more disaster resources. Have any questions, suggestions, or even a story to tell? Leave a comment!

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🔗  Resources