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Why 'natural' disasters aren't as natural as their name suggests

A group of people people walking through high water in front of the Superdome August 30, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mark Wilson
Getty Images North America
People walk through high water in front of the Superdome August 30, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Thousands of people are left without homes after Hurricane Katrina hit the area the day before.

Listening to the news, it feels like there are more natural disasters than ever. This hour, we talk about why flooding and droughts are becoming so common and discuss how the word "disaster" affects the way we view an event. First, Connecticut State Historian Andy Horowitz explains why understanding disasters involves looking at the decisions people made before the devastation, sometimes decades before. And Professor Mohammed Ombadi breaks down the science behind how climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather.


  • Andy Horowitz: Associate Professor of History at UConn, Connecticut State Historian, author of 'Katrina: A History, 1915-2015'
  • Mohammed Ombadi: Assistant Professor in the department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan

Special thanks to our interns Lateshia Peters and Joey Morgan.

Disrupted is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Kevin Chang Barnum is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show Disrupted. Kevin grew up in Connecticut and started his radio work at his graduate university’s radio station, KUCI. He has also worked for HRN, a network of food and beverage podcasts.
Wayne Edwards is a freelance producer at Connecticut Public contributing to multi-platform productions, including ‘Disrupted’, ‘Where Art Thou?’, and ‘Cutline in the Community’.

Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Wesleyan University, author, and host of 'Disrupted' on Connecticut Public.
Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public where she provides editorial support for the station’s talk shows and podcasts, including the limited series 'In Absentia'.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.