Compounds containing either chlorine, bromine or fluorine and carbon. Such compounds can act as powerful greenhouse gases (q.v.) in the atmosphere. The chlorine and bromine containing halocarbons are also involved in the depletion of the ozone layer.


A potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon and/or human activity, which may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation. Hazards can include latent conditions that may represent future threats and can have different origins: natural (geological, hydro meteorological and biological) and/or induced by human processes (environmental degradation and technological hazards). Hazards can be single, sequential or combined in their origin and effects. Each hazard is characterised by its location, intensity, frequency and probability.

Hazard Analysis / Assessment

Identification, study and monitoring of any hazard to determine its potential, origin, characteristics, behaviour and effects on the community.

Hazard Mapping

The process of establishing geographically where and to what extent hazards are likely to affect an area.


An event, activity or phenomenon that has the potential to cause harm to life, health or property, damage to the environment or some combination of these.


The health status of millions of people is projected to be affected through, for example, increases in malnutrition; increased deaths, diseases and injury due to extreme weather events; increased burden of diarrhoeal diseases; increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone in urban areas related to climate change; and the altered spatial distribution of some infectious diseases. {WGI 7.4, Box 7.4; WGII 8.ES, 8.2, 8.4, SPM}; Climate change is projected to bring some benefits in temperate areas, such as fewer deaths from cold exposure, and some mixed effects such as changes in range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa. Overall it is expected that benefits will be outweighed by the negative health effects of rising temperatures, especially in developing countries. {WGII 8.4, 8.7, 8.ES, SPM}; Critically important will be factors that directly shape the health of populations such as education, health care, public health initiatives, and infrastructure and economic development. {WGII 8.3, SPM} (IPCC, 2014)

Health and Hazards

A hazard that has the potential to significantly affect the well-being of a community.

Heat Wave

A period of abnormally hot weather. Heat waves and warm spells have various and in some cases overlapping definitions (IPCC-SREX, 2014).




HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes AIDS - Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome and leads to failure of the human immune system.

Hot air

Refers to the concern that some governments will be able to meet their targets for greenhouse-gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol with minimal effort and could then flood the market with emissions credits, reducing the incentive for other countries to cut their own domestic emissions.

Human rights

Rights inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.

Humanitarian and Emergencies Section

Previously a section of AusAID that was primarily concerned with administering Australia's humanitarian aid. Now subsumed into Australian Aid.

Hydro-Meteorology and Hazards

Hydrology-Study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth. Meteorology-The study of atmospheric phenomena.

Hyogo Framework for Action

Coordinated under the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), HFA is a guideline that assists the efforts of nations and communities to build resilience to disasters. It was developed and agreed on with the many partners needed to reduce disaster risk - governments, international agencies, and disaster experts - bringing them into a common system of coordination.