Forthe past decades, our modern society has witnessed the devastationcaused by natural disasters. Yes, we have been developingtechnologies and experimenting on innovations just to predict whatMother Earth will throw against us. However, due to our environment’sstructure of being unpredictable and spontaneous, are we actuallyready for the coming huge disasters? Are we suited well for the risksdue to these disasters?
Naturaldisasters can take away our houses, our cars, our schools, our familyor even worse our lives. One of the earliest recorded and most deadlydisasters that happened in our planet is the flood than happened in1931. It took away millions of lives. During that time, the world’spredicting capability of disasters is not as effective as now, thuscausing the deaths of many people.
Recently,typhoons and tsunamis are endangering countries in Asia. But justlast year one of the strongest typhoon ever occurred in the planetdevastated the southern part of the Philippines. It devastated thelives of almost 11 million people.
Andwho would forget about the deadly combination of earthquake andtsunami that hit Japan in 2011? The 9.0 magnitude earthquake was anightmare that brought about hundreds of thousands of deaths followedby a huge tsunami that almost wiped out the eastern side of thecountry. Luckily, the help of from other countries was quick to come.
Thecatastrophic Haiti earthquake in 2010 also shocked the world.Earthquakes are known to be really unpredictable and its occurrencecan really cause lives. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Haiti onthe middle of January 24. No one was expecting it, leading to numberof casualties due to lack of preparedness and knowledge.
Thesethree examples are the kinds of disaster which we should prepare for.It will come to us unknowingly and unexpectedly. Different countrieshave been devising programs to counter disaster in their respectivelocality. Some organizations also help out in implementing theseprojects to ensure that the casualties of every disaster that maycome will be lessened.
Someargue that the cause of all major disasters in the world is fromhuman activities. Because of our ungrateful usage of our naturalresources, the consequences are these calamities. However, someexperts say that these are natural events that cannot be controllednor accurately be predicted. We can only be prepared all the timebefore it hits us.
Thepreparedness and alertness of locals are vital during calamities andthis is what our Government is trying to address. Due to the Earth’sincreasing temperature, ice caps continue to melt and raise the sealevel. And this event makes us more susceptible to tsunamis and stormsurges. This also brings deadlier cyclones and typhoons. But thesedisasters can easily be predicted and classified. However, disasterslike earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it’s harder to predictwhen it will come and hit us.
PopularMechanics has enumerated 5 deadly disasters that US might face in thecoming years. And these disasters are not to be dismissed of. Theseare huge ones coming right to our doorsteps.
Thefirst disaster predicted to devastate us is a 40-foot-Mudslide inWashington. According to scientist emeritus of U.S. GeologicalSurvey`s Cascade Volcano Observatory (CVO), Kevin Scott, due to theconstant hydrothermal activity of Mount Rainier’s west face, a hugemudslide might wash out Washington. The hydrothermal system of the14,410-ft mountain continues to saturate its disintegrated rockformation that may lead to landslide. And because of this, lahar—avolcanic mudflow—is produced. This activity might endanger thelives of approximately 150,000 Washington residents.
Themudslide mainly composed of mass of rolling mud, rocks, and trees canreach as high as a 15-ft wave with an extreme speed of 60 mph. Itwill only take 45 minutes for the 500 residents of Orting to survivethis.
Anotherdisaster that threatened the US is the 80-ft Tsunami from thecollapse of the most active volcano in the Canary Islands, CumbreVieja. This event can cause the waves to rise as high as 80 ft thatmay reach the East Coast of North America. East Coast is at risk withthis tsunami. However, an oceanography center in Great Britain saidthat there is only a 5 percent chance that Cumbre Vieja will triggera tsunami. But if it does, it can cause a landslide 250 times tallerthan the Mount of St. Helens.
Amagnitude 6.9 earthquake also threatens the country. The New Madridfault, which runs for 150 miles was damaged from a quake and it maycause a massive earthshaking. This fault has a history of producingstrong earthquakes. In 1811 and 1812, it was able to produced anenormous magnitude 8.0 tremor. Scientists say that there are a lot tostudy about this fault but what they do know about it is itsconcerning destructive potential.
A195-mph hurricane also made it to the list of Popular Mechanics.Researchers say that Florida might be in a lot trouble when they facethis super hurricane. According to MIT professor of meteorology KerryEmmanuel, the destructive force of storms today have doubled comparedto those in 1970s.
Scientistsalso debunk the correlation between global warming and hurricaneconnection saying that the increase in the presence of Category 4 and5 hurricanes is due to natural cycles and it’s still hard to provethe relationship of the two variables. Hurricanes are known to causewreckage especially now because coastal zones are more populated thanever.
Laston the list is the infamous climate change. Winter now became morefreezing and summer now is hotter than ever. And the cause of thiscan also be blame to global warming.
Withall the listed impending disasters, residents near risk-prone areasshould be more alert and vigilant during critical season. PopularMechanic also listed important items in case of calamity. Some ofwhich are bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid kits, andcash. Also included for basic survival are batteries, multitool, tarpas roof, and rain gear.
Inthe Asia Pacific there is a region called the Pacific ring of fire.This is where the center of volcanic activities and earthquakeshappen. And some of the deadliest disasters happened here.
China,included in the said region, suffered from 5 out of the 10 deadliestdisasters known in the history. The Yellow River flood in 1887, tookaway an estimated 900,000 lives. In 1556, the third deadliestdisaster also happened in China. The Shaanxi earthquake is believedto have killed almost 800,000 lives.
Disastersare classified based on their harmful environmental effect and lossin human lives. Avalanches, blizzards, wildfires, and lightningstrikes can also be classified as disasters depending on itsdestructive power.
Oneof the earliest recorded deadly avalanche happened in Canada. It wasnamed as the Frank slide where it took 90 lives. In 2010, twoavalanches made it to the list of the top 10 deadliest avalanches.These happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan labeled as Khistanavalanche and Salang avalanche respectively. These two events tookaway an estimated 270 lives.
Interms of deadliest blizzard, the 1972 Iran blizzard made it to thenumber 1 spot of the list. This freezing disaster took away almost4000 lives. Next to the list of deadliest blizzards that happened inour planet dates back on 1719. It was tagged as the Carolean DeathMarch which took away 3,000 lives. The most recent recorded deadlyblizzard happened in China on 2008 which erased the lives of over 100people.
Heatwaves are also classified as disasters and have its own list ofdeadliest occurrences. 70,000 people died of heat wave in Europe in2003. This was considered as the deadliest heat wave up to date.
Wildfiresand bushfires can also cause devastating effects on humanity. On1871, the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin had an estimated death toll ofalmost 1,500.
Laston the list of the most uncommon disaster that may happen in ourplanet are lightning strikes. In 1856, the lightning that struck thePalace of the Grand Master Explosion caused 4000 lives. This was byfar the greatest casualty due to lightning strike ever recorded.Following on the list is the lightning strike in Italy on 1769. Thiscaused the explosion in the Church of San Nazaro.
Toaddress environmental issues, the then senator Gaylord Nelsonspearheaded the conception of Earth Day in 1970. This event wasoriginally aimed to create an environmental movement. This isNelson’s way of alarming the government that the planet will be atrisk in the coming decades because due to our abusive treatment tothe environment. The main objective of Nelson is to bringenvironmental advocacy to the attention of the general public.
Nowadays,Earth Day is being celebrated all around the world. What started froma simple announcement against air and water pollution is now a globalevent. It is now being participated by 140 nations with activitieswhich include protest rallies, concerts, and the famous totallights-out.
TheWorld Vision International (WVI) has its own initiative to counternatural disasters. Because of the hazards and vulnerabilities thatdisasters pose to communities, WVI advocates “Disaster RiskReduction and Community Resilience”. Basically it aims forcommunities to adapt to hazards and grow through disasters. Also, itaims for communities to have an increasing knowledge in disasterpreparedness from past experiences. It can be achieved by reducingvulnerabilities, mitigating the impact of disasters, and developingor enhancing the capacities of communities’ resiliency
Onthe other hand, the International Federation of Red Cross and RedCrescent Societies (IFRC) does not only promote disaster preparednessbut also response and relief operation during calamities. The impactsof disaster are not only limited to loss of property but also ofpsychological trauma and emotional pain. The aim of disaster responseteam of IFRC is to respond as immediate as possible to the affectedcommunities and offer necessary help. They aim to stabilize thephysical, mental, and emotional condition of the victims. They alsohelp in recovering the bodies of the non-survivors of the disaster. They do it through proper cooperation and communication with thelocal community and other response team to ensure that they will bemore of help than liability.
Afterthe response phase, they go into the recovery phase. As mentionedabove, disasters can also cause mental and emotional stress and thesecan lead to long term effect to survivors if not treated immediately.That is why IFRC makes sure that continuous provision of the needs ofthe survivors will be given. This will ensure that further loss oflive will be prevented and suffering will be alleviated. The aim ofrecovery phase is to ensure the longer-term benefit of theiracttivities to the concerned communities. The post disasteractivities will also include debriefing and emotional support tosurvivors.
Philippineshas its own way of preparing for disaster and predicting its outcome.They have a project called Noah. It’s an initiative fromtheir government that aims to reduce casualties and property lossfrom hazardous events. It has a downloadable application which canhelp update the locals about the situation at hand in realtime. While some trust Science to prepare us for anything thatcould happen, some religious people resort to prayers and religiouspractices and traditional activities to stop the coming of disasters.For devout Catholics, they pray the oracioimperataor the prayer of deliverance from calamities. This is prayed duringmass to ask for Lord’s guidance during disaster. This is their wayof believing that they will survive anything that comes due tocalamities. However, scientists believe that the most effective wayto lessen the casualty of a disaster is through enough historicalknowledge of disasters and careful preparedness.
Anothertradition comes from indigenous people of Chine wherein they help inreconstructing the sense of ‘home’ of the victims of disaster.Local traditions and heritage are the key of reconstructingcommunities. Through this they are able to detoxify the traumabrought forth by the indecent phenomena. The key is for the victimsto be able to share their acknowledgement of the event, theexperience of loss of family members and friends, the survival theymade, and the reorganization of their community and relationship withothers.
Withall the disasters that have happened in our planet and the impendingstrong ones that might come, it is more important that we should bemore prepared by now. Disaster preparedness should not be a soleresponsibility of the government. Disaster preparedness should startfrom our own households. It should be our responsibility to informourselves about the risk of our area and the actions needed to bedone in case of disaster.
Eventhough Mother Earth can really be unpredictable most of the times, itshould not be an excuse to be not alert before, during, and afterdisaster. Presence of mind is essential during disasters and it mightactually save your life. It should be a combined effort from thestate and the people to avoid deaths during these unwanted events.With this, we could be stronger than any disaster that will try tobring us all down.