Natural hazards are Earth processes with the potential to harm people or property; natural disasters result when society is affected by a hazardous event. Owing to global population pressures, more people live in areas vulnerable to natural disasters. As a consequence, the loss of life, private property, and infrastructure resulting from natural disasters is rising. Although commonly called “Acts of God”, natural disasters result from mass and energy transfers that have operated on Earth since it formed, 4.6 billion years ago. More importantly, natural disasters generally result from the inability of humans to anticipate, and plan for, inevitable hazardous events.
British Columbia is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards. For example, earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanoes are generated along the western flank of the province, as the tectonic plates that floor the Pacific Ocean drive beneath North America. Furthermore, British Columbia's mountainous terrain makes it prone to landslides, glacial outburst floods, snow avalanches, and seasonal floods, and its extensive coastlines are exposed to storm surges, tsunami that propagate across the Pacific Ocean from distant plate boundaries, and the effects of sea-level rise.
The following links will guide you to hazard resources developed by the British Columbia Geological Survey and to national and international organizations dedicated to disaster reduction.
British Columbia Geological Survey hazard resources