Natural disasters are rare occurrences, but when they occur, they do so to a devastating effect. Their unpredictable nature often makes it difficult to counter them. They may be in the form of flooding, hurricanes or tsunamis. For example, flooding was, and is still predicted by use of the weather patterns. They are usually preceded by heavy rains. Hurricanes are as a result of strong ocean waves and currents.as a result, they can cause flooding and strong winds that turn out to be damaging. Tsunami occur as a result of high magnitude earthquakes. Technology has been used to predict them, but accuracy is often an issue that has to be addressed.
Examples of Natural Disasters
Some of the worst disasters to be experienced are the hurricane Katrina in the US (March 2005), the tsunami in Japan (March 2011) and the Colombian flooding (December 2010). Others have occurred, but these were some of the most damaging.
The March 2011 Japanese Tsunami
According to gilbreath (2011), this was Japan’s worst ever recorded natural disaster. Majority of Japan’s 126.4 million population at the time were left shaken by its impact. It was initiated by an 8.9 magnitude tremor. Multiple lives were lost, and property worth billions of dollars were destroyed. In fact, it is estimated that the cost of the physical damage was between 250 billion and 309 billion dollars (Kingston, 2012). In excess of 27000 lives were lost and thousands of others went missing. Millions of others were left homeless. There were also fears of a nuclear explosion due to the high amount of radiation produced by the tsunami.
It caused one of the worst nuclear crisis in the country. Electricity and power supplies were damaged to the extent that there was no power in some areas for days.as a result, many businesses were closed, and multiple people left jobless.
Roads and multiple highways were badly damaged to the extent that they had to be built again from scratch. Cars and boats rammed into structures, and the transport sector almost came to a standstill in the affected areas. Approximations claim that 2035 bridges and 56 bridges were affected (Kingston 2012). Some countries such as the United States that rely on Japan in terms of import of some products such as electronic parts and batteries also suffered. Tourism levels were also reduced, and this also hurt the economy.
It was estimated that the recovery would set Japan about 122 US dollars back. Rebuilding required a lot of construction materials. This was because of the amount of damage on the structures in the affected areas. The recovery required a lot of money. The money required to build was also hard to acquire due to the amount of debts that Japan had. However, all this was acquired, and the rebuilding began almost immediately.
Since Japan has a history of earthquakes, its companies and institutions usually have numerous preparations for such disasters. The nuclear plant was also fixed before it could cause any harm to the people. Most of the people, especially children, were also encouraged to take part in the recovery process. The recovery process went faster due to the hard working nature of the Japanese.
A year after the disaster, massive recovery steps have been taken (subbiah 2011). It was slow in some of the most affected towns. Most of the debris has been cleared from the roads and other places. Survivors have also been moved into temporary housing and businesses have been reopened. It appeared a hard task to rebuild from the disaster, but Japan has shown massive steps in the recovery. Before long, they should have fully recover from it.
Japan is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. It is for this reason that measures to counter the effects of such disasters should be put into place. This will aid in improving the welfare of a population projected to be 95.2 million by 2050.
This was the deadliest and most destructive of the 2005 hurricane series in the United States of America. The city that was affected most was the New Orleans city. According to palser (2007), at least 1833 people died during this terrible disaster. The total property damage was estimated to be worth 81 billion US dollars at that time. It caused flooding in major cities but notably New Orleans. Sources (Davis 2008) claim that 80% percent of the city even weeks after the disaster had struck. The coastal cities especially Mississippi also incurred a lot of losses since cars and boats rammed into buildings and structures causing a lot of damage. The economic effects were also felt as all those who were left homeless needed medical care and food. Refugees also increased in other cities as those who had been evacuated could not go to the affected cities.
Natural weather service and natural hurricane center had predicted of the hurricane long before it happened. The agencies had forecast the path and the devastating effects with remarkable accuracy. In fact, it helped save a number of lives as some of the people were evacuated before the hurricane struck.
People are still recovering, but United States of America has taken massive steps towards full recovery. Majority of the 256 million population at that time also aided in making donations to their fellow country people. Roads and beaches in the New Orleans that were destroyed have been rebuilt from scratch. It is good to note that, the Americans started the recovery almost at once. This was begun by supplying the affected areas with the needed medicines and supporting doctors.
The United States is prone to multiple disasters. The most likely are hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes. However, the Gold Coast is the most vulnerable place. It is risky for those living there. The government will have to implement measures that will help to reduce this sort of damages for a population that is expected to hit 438 million by 2050.
The Colombian Flooding (December 2010)
This disaster also had massive impacts on the Colombian people. Flooding occurred in areas with an estimated 2 million people (Bloch 2012). All the places were flooded for days. Homes were left submerged in water for weeks due to the continuing rains. Crops were destroyed and transport paralyzed due to massive and common mudslides. Overflowing rivers were also common in the majority of the areas. More than 200 people were confirmed dead or missing (Woods 2012). Schools were closed, and multiple students were left without schools to attend. According to reports, another 1.5 million people were left homeless. The government of Colombia estimated that it needed humanitarian help in tune of 240 million dollars so that it could repair the resultant damages. Crops and herds of animals were also destroyed by the pounding rains. This greatly weakened the productivity and economic levels in the country.
Colombia is very vulnerable to natural disaster such as hurricanes and tropical storms due to the unpredictable meteorological patterns of the Caribbean region. Torrential rains with storms are common in the region. However, the 2010 rains exceeded the limits.
The world had to come to the aid of Colombia so that it could recover from the disaster. The government stated that money amounting to 550 million dollars would be required on disaster relief. Volunteers and world organizations such as the Colombian Red Cross Society played a major part in the rebuilding process. Emergency appeals were raised due to the continuing nature of the rains, and the worsening situation. It was aimed at raising money for helping the affected people. Other activities such as the distribution of the relief food, water and emergency health facilities were also part of the agenda. Taxes were also hiked so as to aid in the rebuilding of the nation.
Some of the families were more affected than others and needed the relief food and materials urgently. These include those who needed shelter and other forms of housing. Lack of shelter made people vulnerable to diseases such as malaria and cholera evoked by the flooding. As a result, issuing them with mosquito nets was a major agenda in the recovery process.
Education about flooding was also a major part of the rebuilding process. This would help them to reduce the amount of casualties in the future when such disasters occurred. The information not only educated the affected, but it also comforted them.
Debris and mud was cleared from the roads. This aided in the recovery process since the relief aid movement was facilitated. The roads that were damaged were repaired and the ones that were swept away completely rebuilt. This was a massive boost for the country has the third largest population in South America. Its approximated population during the disaster was 44 million and only third behind Mexico and Brazil in Latin America. Measures have been put in place to cater for the population, which is projected to have risen to approximately 56 million by 2050.
Colombia has never recovered fully from the flooding disaster of 2010. It also has the highest number of internally displaced people in the world. Part of this is due to be blamed on the flooding.
These three disasters caused a lot of damage. However, no one could be blamed due to their unpredictable nature. Technological advancements have also not been adequate in solving them. Of the three countries, there is none that has fully recovered from the impacts.
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