11 Oct 2022


Disasters: Types, Causes, and Effects

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Academic level: College

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All disasters whether human-induced such as terrorism or natural-induced tend to bring a massive loss of life, property and environmental destruction. Human-induced disasters range from weapons of mass destruction to environmental pollutions while natural-induced includes earthquakes and tsunamis. Local people play a crucial role during disasters. When disasters occur, the local populations are often the first victims to experience the impact of the event. Moreover, in most cases, even before the states and eventually the federal government intervenes, the local people tend to be the first responders, taking care of each other by offering the first help that may include rescue, food, water, shelter and communications among others. It is, therefore, important for both local and state governments to maximize on emergency response programs when responding to disasters instead of waiting upon the federal or the world to respond first( Athar et al., 2016). 

Bioterrorism entails the use of pathogens and biological agents to cause harm in people. Bioterrorism is an attractive weapon especially in wars since it is easy and inexpensive to acquire. In early 1984, supporters of the Bhagwan Shree Rajineesh in Dalles City, Oregon State attempted to interfere with the planned elections by debilitating the public. This was executed by infecting several public places such as restaurants and grocery shops with Salmonella typhimurium bacteria. Though there were no causalities during the attack, more than 751 suffered from severe food poisoning. The attack was one of the first known bioterrorist attack on the America soil in the 20th century. It was also termed to be one of the largest bioterrorist attacks in the US history (Boothby, 2016). 

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Chemical weapons involve the use of toxic substances such as choking agents to cause harm in people. One of the darkest chapters in the Iraq-Iran war was the use of chemical agents as weapons. Iraq imported more than 1000 tonnes of thiodiglycol from Europe and America to help in the manufacturing of chemical weapons. In 1983, Iraq used mustard agents against their opponents, the Iranian troops, causing hundreds of casualties. During this operation, the Iranians confronted the Iraqis through Harwish marshes in Khaybar, as they attempted to pass through the Basra-Baghdad road. The Iraqis, on the other hand, counterattacked the Iranians who had gone without food for days by releasing mustard gases in their infantry and staging areas disrupting all their activities (Boothby, 2016). 

In short, both biological and chemical weapons are one of the most devastating and uncontrollable weapons ever used in warfare. For decades, the use of these weapons has led to huge numbers of causalities, ranging from death to causing severe lifetime injuries in the victims. They can be as deadly as the natural disasters leading to massive loss of life and destructions. Therefore, a swift and rapid response from the international community will help ensure mitigation on the use of such weapons on a broader scale. 


Boothby, W. H. (2016). Weapons and the law of armed conflict . Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Li, C., Srivastava, R. K., & Athar, M. (2016). Biological and environmental hazards associated with exposure to chemical warfare agents: arsenicals. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1378, 1, 143-157. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Disasters: Types, Causes, and Effects .


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