Extreme events (disasters)

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Themes and Indicators

Themes are the priority subjects of studies, grouped by the Observatory, for the identification of climate patterns and their effects on health.

Indicators are measures that express or quantify a service, an input, a result, a characteristic or performance of a product, a process, or organization that generates useful information for decision-making.

Health impacts and ways to minimize disaster damage

Popularly known as a "natural disaster," an extreme weather or climatic event results from a serious disruption of the normal functioning of a community or society, affecting its daily life. This abrupt halt involves material and economic losses as well as damage to the environment and harm to people’s health through injuries and diseases that can cause immediate and subsequent deaths. The affected group might be unable to cope with the situation using its own resources, which can cause the negative effects to be extended beyond the site of occurrence.

For such an event to be considered a "disaster", a range of factors covering physical and social conditions is required. When combined, these elements constitute the so-called disaster risk factors. In other words, a disaster takes place in hazard conditions, triggered by physical events that are generated by the dynamics of nature.

Extreme climatic and weather events are usually classified as having an hydrological origin (sudden and gradual floods, inundations, and landslides); geological or geophysical (erosive processes, mass movement, and landslides resulting from geological processes or geophysical phenomena); meteorological (lightning, tropical and extratropical cyclones, tornadoes and windstorms); and climatic (long and short droughts, fires and forest fires, hail rains, frost, and waves of cold and heat).