15 types of natural disasters with survival tips

15 types of natural disasters, know the causes behind them, and how to prevent natural disasters. It can be called an essay on natural disasters. I will refrain from ranking these disasters. In this article under Earth’s problems, we are going to discuss briefly each of the disasters with survival tips.

But to give a structure to our Top 15 list, I have considered the geographical impact that one disaster could make.

But first, you have to know what are natural disasters?

What are natural disasters?

We, humans, may call it a Natural Disaster. But it really is an event of a very natural process on our planet Earth. Since it comes with a tremendous loss in many forms – life, wealth, and property, it always turns out to be disastrous to the inhabitants of this Earth, which is us.

Some of these natural disasters are unpreventable.

Now, read these two types of causes of natural disasters.

natural disasters

What are the causes of disaster?

There are two types of causes. 

  1. Natural
  2. Human-made


Most of the causes of natural disasters are natural. No reasons are found for that. Sometimes those happen for balancing. Sometimes for no reason. Only Allah knows the reasons. Because of Climate change, natural disasters are increasing. Both are related to most of the cases we are facing now. 


Some reasons for natural disasters are human-made pollutions and urbanization. Some countries stop the natural flow of water that actually goes to another country. Then the drought happens in the 2nd country because of less amount of water. 

Again when the water of the first country overflows they open all the blocks for passing the water. And because of that, the second country was affected by the flood.  That is a reason for both flood and drought. 

Natural disaster victims

Disasters victims are those who are in or near the disaster area.

How to prepare for a natural disaster?

You need to be prepared for a natural disaster right away when you know that a natural disaster is coming to your area. Basing on different types of natural disasters you have to be prepared differently. But you have to do some common work for all the cases.

  • Collect some safe water and some dry food. Because of some disasters water becomes polluted.
  • Make everyone in the house aware of the disaster.
  • Understand the time and move to the nearest shelter.
  • Keep your head cool and give courage to everyone in the family.
  • If someone falls ill or has a disaster, take them to the hospital as soon as possible.

Also below I have discussed individually what steps you can take in each disaster. You can fall from there. 

Natural disasters effects

The effects of a natural disaster mean the amount of damage that has been done to the affected area and the amount of damage that has been caused by the disaster. 

Types of natural disasters

In the following list, you will know the top 15 natural disaster types. 

  • Solar Flares
  • Landslides
  • Avalanches
  • Tornadoes
  • Volcanic Eruptions
  • Droughts
  • Thunderstorms
  • Cold Waves
  • Heat Waves
  • Wildfires
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Cyclones and Hurricanes
  • Tsunamis
  • Impact Events

Solar Flares

A solar flare is a sudden burst of flashing brightness on the Sun. When this happens along with coronal ejection and electromagnetic radiation, it results in a solar storm.  While solar flares happen often, some are stronger and more severe. And these affect our radio communications and satellites. This radiation is also harmful to the skin of those on Earth – especially our astronauts who are out there.

Though not usually life-threatening, let us see what to do when Sun flares? Once a solar flare ejects, usually it takes days to reach Earth. So you will have ample time to know – While there is not much to be done, it is a must to apply sunscreen while stepping out and be mindful of the excess heat. Avoid stepping out when it is too hot once a solar flare warning is issued. Usually, unless your life depends on continuous radio communication, you should be alright. 


As the name self explains landslide is when a massive piece of rock or earth collapses from a mountain or a cliff. This often happens so suddenly without any warning, that the destruction it leaves is often very high. Landslides also often occur due to being triggered by any of the other natural calamities, or rains, or even human intervention. 

How can you survive?

  1. Get out of the affected area as fast as you can. Because more could be becoming. Landslides usually are recurrences and don’t stop with just one. 
  2. Listen carefully for any creaks or other unusual sounds. Moving debris reaches you faster than you think. So when in doubt, run to a safer location than wait and see. Look out for flooding and help yourself and others to a safer area should the area flood because of some connected damage. 
  3. If the landslide occurred near a water stream, avoid driving over the bridge or adjacent to the mountain.


Similar to landslides natural disasters, avalanches occur when slabs of snow slide down a steep slope. At Mount Alps, during World War 1, a deadly avalanche killed nearly 80,000 soldiers! Understandably, these commonly occur in snowy mountains. 

How to survive?

  1. While most of the rescue steps for Landslides do apply here, it is important to remember to escape to the side of the avalanche. 
  2. Just keep rolling like a log towards the other side – Grab whatever you can hold on to – a tree, a rock, or a bush. You won’t get buried that way.
  3. Worst case, if you are being buried in snow, try to get one of your hands in front of the face to be able to breathe and the other one as high as possible so that you can try and dig yourself out once the avalanche stops.
  4. Very few people would die in an avalanche if it is easy to get out and survive. But it is not. So the best thing to do is take all the necessary precautions and be alert.


A tornado is one of the types of natural disasters that makes a cloud and the ground connection, but not for good reasons. This funnel-shaped calamity wipes out everything that comes its way irrespective of how heavy or strong that object is.  In natural wind blows are lovely. But With speedy winds, tornadoes are capable of traveling for miles! If a tornado forms over a water body and not ground, it is called a waterspout. 

How to survive?

  1. Reach a sturdy building and stay in. 
  2. Do not try to outrun the tornado in your vehicle. 
  3. Importantly, cover your head and neck with pillows and blankets. 
  4. Keep a stash of them next to you.
  5. Stay clear of the windows and doors; especially if you are in a glass building, keep a distance from the glass.

Volcanic Eruptions

A volcano is the opening of Earth’s crust! So it is The hub of all the molten rock, gases, and chemicals. Volcanoes are usually seen wherever Earth’s tectonic plates converge or diverge. So the majority of the volcanoes are sitting on our ocean beds right now.  Whenever the pressure and density get too high, Earth cools down by popping up a bottle of lava which in turn becomes our natural disaster.  So if you are traveling to a city with volcanoes around, how to save yourself?

  1. First, understand the community warning systems. An alarm could be going off in the area indicating that a volcano is about to burst and so you should be informed about every such signage.
  2. Always place all your important documents and survival kit in one place. You should be able to vacate and leave immediately with all you need.

Avoid downstream or downward areas. Remember to buy a safety mask to protect yourself from the chronic ash being released by the volcano. 


While droughts can last for weeks, months, or even years, sometimes droughts are declared as soon as 15 days of shortage in water supply both groundwater or surface water.  The most prolonged drought lasted for over 400 years in Chile! The higher the temperatures go, the warmer the Earth gets more chances of this calamity.  One thing to note is that due to soil erosion after floods, usually, a drought follows! 

How you can survive?

Some types of natural disasters occur while we have nothing to do at that time. Like that, there is not much to do while in drought except for conserving and using whatever water we have extremely cautiously.  But before a drought hits, there is a lot one can do.  For starters, make sure that there are no leakages anywhere; use water conservatively; water plants with the used water during cooking instead of draining it all and be more efficient with water usage. 


If you think thunderstorms are not worthy of being on this list, think again. The lightning that thunders brings along can instantly kill people. Thunderstorms are also one of the primary reasons for flash flooding. Cumulonimbus clouds bring thunderstorms accompanied by snow, hail, heavy rains, strong winds, and sometimes even tornadoes and water-spouting!

When the ground heats up due to high temperatures, warm air moves upward and condenses into a cumulonimbus cloud.  These deadly thunders sometimes also start off wildfires! So, what to do?

  1. Stay indoors and avoid plugging into electrical outlets. 
  2. During severe thunderstorms, avoid turning on taps to prevent electrocution. 
  3. Stay as far as you can from trees, electricity poles, or flag poles.

Cold Waves

Define as a drastic fall of temperatures within 24 hours forcing the need to protect agriculture, lives, and a lot more.  Particularly known to be hazardous to livestock and wildlife, human lives are at stake too when a cold wave hits hard.  The past 15 years have seen severe life loss due to cold waves, preceded by intensely hot summers so how to take care?

  1. Needless to say, stay warm and stay indoors. This is not the time to be experimenting outside or going viral. 
  2. Once the cold wave starts, immediately stock up your water storage because soon the water pipes and other plumbing would freeze or even break.

Do not ignore any severe physical concerns like excessive bleeding or aches and seek medical help. 

Heat Waves

Heatwaves have killed more than cold waves did. Any sudden rise in local temperatures than their limit can be referred to as heatwaves.  For instance, 40 degrees in New Zealand could be considered as a heatwave period though 40 is regular and common in India. It is basically the area not being accustomed to the kind of hotter temperature that is being clocked. 

How to survive?

  1. First, it is important to note that heat waves not only result in physical stress but also cause psychological and sociological stress. So it is important to take care of both body and mind!
  2. Try and stay indoors as much as possible and increase the intake of liquids, especially water.
  3. When you are troubled with body heat, cool your body by letting it sweat rather than indulging in air-conditioned life- Increase immunity and do not ignore any uncommon symptoms in the elderly or kids, or people who are overweight – Consult a doctor immediately.


A wildfire is an unplanned fire that has the potential to burn down an entire forest or grassland. One of the few natural disasters that could last days or even weeks, wildfires are often caused by lightning, human intervention, or just the extremely hot temperatures.  Due to global warming and the death of a significant number of trees, dead trees act and fuel and spread the fires rapidly.  So how to deal with this life-threatening calamity?

  1. If the authorities want you to evacuate, EVACUATE!Do not second guess the seriousness.
  2. Wear the N95 Masks without fail to get to an area that has lesser smoke.
  3. Listen to the weather reports and do not underestimate the severity. Do as you are told to.


One of the most common types of natural disasters, floods occurs when there is a temporary overflow of water onto dry land. Flash floods, the worst kind – come with no warning. Flooding water is so powerful that only 6 inches of it can knock you out and 1 foot can sweep away vehicles.

How can you survive?

  1. As a precaution, if you are visiting or are living in a flood-prone area, always store your important documents in waterproof bags.
  2. If it is flooding, immediately move to the highest level of your building. Make sure that you don’t hide in a confined space.
  3. Do not try to swim, walk, or drive through the floodwater. Because flood water is extremely powerful. Avoid driving on bridges and always listen to the radio and monitor the situation.
  4. After flooding stops, be very cautious of snakes or other creatures that water may have brought inside your house. Be mindful of electrocution risks.


This natural disaster needs no introduction. One of the deadliest forms of natural calamities massive earthquakes can result in tsunamis, landslides, and even volcanic eruptions!  It is interesting to note that shaking or splitting ground rarely causes life loss.

It is the effects that follow like man-made structure collapses or tsunamis or volcanic eruptions that follow result in severe life loss.  So, what to do when the ground shakes?  Basically, there is nothing you can do. But before it does, there is plenty that you can do which may end up saving lives

  1. Do not place weights over your sofas or beds
  2. Build your home such that it reduces the damage and prevents life loss
  3. At any given point, stock yourself with food and water that could last for at least a week
  4. Aftershocks could be right around the corner. So take cover under a strong table until the ground stops shaking. Immediately lookout for any gas leakages and take the safer exit. 
  5. Never stand next to a building or any structure that could just fall on you- If you are inside, stay inside. Do not run out. 
  6. If you are on a bed, cover your neck and head with pillows and stay right there. If you are driving, reach a clear area and stop. 
  7. Never use elevators and be extremely alert for any other types of natural disasters to follow which is very common.

Cyclones and Hurricanes

Cyclones, Typhoons, and Hurricanes refer to the exact same thing. If it develops in the Atlantic or North-East pacific ocean, a tropical cyclone is referred to as a hurricane; in the Indian and South Pacific oceans, it is a Cyclone and in the North, West pacific is a Typhoon.

When ocean water warms up (thanks to global warming, this is only on the rise), massive storms are formed and move towards the land. When the storm reaches land, that is what we call it making landfall. So how to survive a hurricane?

  1. Thanks to technology, we can now know as soon as a storm forms in the ocean. And that gives us at least 24-36 hours of notice before the storm makes landfall. 
  2. During that window, it is important to make all necessary arrangements Evacuate if the authorities tell you to do so. 
  3. Constant updates are always provided across the media – TV, radio, social media, etc- Stock up all food and water supplies for at least a week and fuel your car with a tank full.
  4. Make plans on where and how to keep your family safe when the eye of the storm passes you. Come up with communication plans


Underwater earthquakes, landslides, or volcanic eruptions cause massive waves in an ocean called Tsunamis. The infamous 2004 Tsunami that caused the deaths of over 2,30,000 across 14 nations actually was caused by a severe earthquake in the Indian Ocean.  It is interesting to note that, our science still hasn’t developed enough to understand what kind of disturbances cause Tsunamis. Because some of the largest underwater earthquakes never cause Tsunamis while smaller earthquakes sometimes do!  So, what to do when waves of 10-100 feet height are chasing you?

  1. To prepare for such a travesty, prepare a family emergency communication plan a safe point to see each other if in case you get separated.
  2. When earthquakes, always look out for any warnings of a Tsunami. Do not wait. Just evacuate immediately
  3. Go to the higher grounds and wait if you can not evacuate. 
  4. If you are swept off by waters, do not try to swim against the current. Try to find something afloat and hold on to it. 
  5. Never assume that the disaster has passed. There could be more aftershocks coming in. Be alert and aware. 

Look at some special mentions before we look at the number 1

  • Sinkholes – Holes that form on the ground due to the collapsing of the surface layer. Could be as deep as 2000 feet!
  • Blizzards – A severe snowstorm accompanied by strong winds that last for 3 hours or more
  • Hail Storms – A thunderstorm that brings along hails is a hail storm. Hails are those icy frozen rain pellets. 
  • Ice Storms – Winter storm that is accompanied by freezing rain! 


Impact Events

Let me put it this way. You do know the impact that nuclear bombs left on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, right? Imagine millions of such bombs bombarding the Earth at once!  That is what a major impact even feels like. And a simple asteroid of just a few kilometers of the radius can unearth this scale of massive destruction.  Something similar is often sighted as the reason why the most powerful species that ruled the Earth for billions of years just disappeared overnight Dinosaurs. While meteor showers are usually popcorn time for families, it is also a relief time for Earth since that means all of them missed colliding with the Earth.

As much as I wish I could tell you what to do when an asteroid hits Earth, there is in fact nothing we could do.  Except for pray, hold on to our loved ones, and relive some of our fondest memories as the asteroid approaches the Earth.  Because in the end, it is all about love.The love that we spread and receive. Every day on this Earth is far more precious than we really give credit for. Because as you saw on this list, we never know what kind of a calamity knocks us out or when.

So, this is an overall discussion on types of natural disasters and how to survive. Thanks a lot, keep connected.


I love nature travel and photography. Professionally I am a computer engineer. Interested in SEO, blogging, and YouTubing.
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