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Disaster

A disaster is a serious disruption occurring over a short or long period of time that causes widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater in developing countries than in industrialized countries.

Catastrophism

Catastrophism is the theory that the Earth has largely been shaped by sudden, short-lived, violent events, possibly worldwide in scope. This is in contrast to uniformitarianism, in which slow incremental changes, such as erosion, created all the Earths geological features. The proponents of uniformitarianism held that the present was the key to the past, and that all geological processes throughout the past were like those that can be observed now. Since the early disputes, a more inclusive and integrated view of geologic events has developed, in which the scientific consensus accepts that there were some catastrophic events in the geologic past, but these were explicable as extreme examples of natural processes which can occur. Proponents of catastrophism proposed that the geological epochs had ended with violent and sudden natural catastrophes such as great floods and the rapid formation of major mountain chains. Plants and animals living in the parts of the world where such events occurred were made extinct, being replaced abruptly by the new forms whose fossils defined the geological strata. Some catastrophists attempted to relate at least one such change to the Biblical account of Noahs flood. The concept was first popularised by the early 19th-century French scientist Georges Cuvier, who proposed that new life forms had moved in from other areas after local floods, and avoided religious or metaphysical speculation in his scientific writings.

Crash cover

A crash cover is a philatelic term for a type of cover, meaning an envelope or package that has been recovered from a fixed-wing aircraft, airship or aeroplane crash, train wreck, shipwreck or other accident. Crash covers are a type of interrupted mail. Crashes of flights carrying airmail were a regular occurrence from the earliest days of mail transport by air. In many cases of aircraft crashes, train wreck and shipwrecks, it was possible to recover some or even all of the mail being carried, with perhaps some charring around the edges of some pieces if there had been a fire, or water damage from flying boat crashes or shipwrecks. In such cases, the authorities typically apply a postal marking cachet, label, or mimeograph that gets affixed to the cover explaining the delay and damage to the recipient, and possibly enclose the letter in an "ambulance cover" or "body bag" if it was badly damaged and then send it to its intended destination. Aviation related crash covers are a specialised collecting area of aerophilately and are much-prized items of postal history, because they are generally rare, but as tangible artifacts of often-tragic accidents they have a story to tell. The 367 covers salvaged from the Hindenburg disaster are especially desirable, with prices ranging from US$10.000 and up; a cover at the Corinphila auction in May 2001 realized 85.000 Swiss francs US$75.000. The American Air Mail Society has a "Crash Cover Committee" specializing in the study of crash covers. There is also a Wreck & Crash Mail Society, whose members collect all types of crash & wreck covers.

Disaster area

A disaster area is a region or a locale, heavily damaged by either natural, technological or social hazards. Disaster areas affect the population living in the community by dramatic increase in expense, loss of energy, food and services; and finally increase the risk of disease for citizens. An area that has been struck with a natural, technological or sociological hazard that opens the affected area for national or international aid.

Engineering disasters

Shortcuts in engineering design can lead to engineering disasters. Engineering is the science and technology used to meet the needs and demands of society. These demands include buildings, aircraft, vessels, and computer software. In order to meet society’s demands, the creation of newer technology and infrastructure must be met efficiently and cost-effectively. To accomplish this, managers and engineers have to have a mutual approach to the specified demand at hand. This can lead to shortcuts in engineering design to reduce costs of construction and fabrication. Occasionally, these shortcuts can lead to unexpected design failures.

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