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A natural disaster is a consequence when a natural hazard affects humans and/or the built environment. Human vulnerability, and lack of appropriate emergency management, leads to financial, environmental, or human impact. The resulting loss depends on the capacity of the population to support or resist the disaster: their resilience. This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability". A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without vulnerability.

Various phenomena like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods and cyclones are all natural hazards that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of habitat and property each year. However, natural hazards can strike in unpopulated areas and never develop into disasters. However, the rapid growth of the world's population and its increased concentration often in hazardous environments has escalated both the frequency and severity of natural disasters. With the tropical climate and unstable land forms, coupled with deforestation, unplanned growth proliferation, non-engineered constructions which make the disaster-prone areas more vulnerable, tardy communication, poor or no budgetary allocation for disaster prevention, developing countries suffer more or less chronically by natural disasters. 
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A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes  of the Earth; examples include floods , volcanic eruption ,earthquakes , Tsunami, and other geologic processes. A natural disaster can cause loss of life or property damage, and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake, the severity of which depends on the affected population's Resilience, or ability to recover.

An adverse event will not rise to the level of a disaster if it occurs in an area without vulnerable population. In a vulnerable area, however, such as san fransico in 1960, an earthquake can have disastrous consequences and leave lasting damage, requiring years to repair.

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