Natural disasters can have significant consequences for the existence and the development of communities or societies. In the aftermath of natural disasters that cause significant property damage and even fatalities, the responsible authorities often critically examine the existing mechanisms for dealing with natural hazards, frequently leading to the implementation of changes or adaptations for the future. Many definitions are applied to the term disaster (cf. Kelman and Pouley 2004). The United Nations define a disaster as

a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.