disaster-n; 3 Senses

Sense Number 1: a sudden catastrophe or calamity, widespread

Commentary: DISASTER[+event][+catastrophe][+sudden][+widespread]
NOTE: implies physical destruction, affects more than a few individuals

The disaster from the 8.5 earthquake stretched on for miles.
They were slow to get disaster relief to the hurricane victims in Florida.
John said it was just another stupid disaster movie with pretty good special effects.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2, 3

Sense Number 2: an ongoing state of adversity or misfortune

Commentary: DISASTER[+state][+adversity][+ongoing]
NOTE: implies an abstract calamity, rather than a physical one, e.g., involving money, work

Critics warned that these energy policies could spell disaster for the state.
Devaluing their currency by thirty percent caused an economic disaster in that country.
We had a disaster at work when someone accidentally erased the backup tapes.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 3: a failure, usually on a personal scale

Commentary: DISASTER[+quality][+failure][+personal]
NOTE: is a colloquial usage, implies minor calamity in contrast to senses 1 and 2

Betty thinks her haircut is a total disaster.
The dinner party was a disaster; the food was overcooked and the guests quarreled.
She needs to learn that having people see her house untidy is not such a disaster.

WordNet 0.0 Sense Numbers: 1c