Extreme Events Report
Extreme Events Report
Extreme events such as mudslides, earthquakes, floods and volcano eruptions have significant effects on the environment. Moreover, they have an impact on human beings as they leave some people injured, dead or may affect them indirectly by altering the economy (Wong, 2014). The given report will focus on some recent extreme events that happened in different parts of the world while critically analyzing their cause, their effects and stating what can be done to prepare for such events taking place in the future. It will also focus on their economic effects and look at where the information concerning these natural disasters can be found.
The Earthquake in the Philippines
The first event worth mentioning is an earthquake that occurred to the south of Batangas provinces Lian town, the South of Manila on August 11, 2017 (Philippines Earthquake, 2017). Before the earthquake happened, small tremors of intensity III, intensity II and intensity I were experienced in different locations. The locals also received predictions that an earthquake with a magnitude of more than six would be encountered. In fact, this particular part of the Philippines is susceptible to earthquakes as it is located on the geographically active Pacific Ring of Fire that is actually considered to be the main cause of the event (Philippines Earthquake, 2017). The U.S. Geographical Survey reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.2 and reached the depth of 107 miles (Strong Earthquake, 2017). During the earthquake, the residents of Manila felt the shake. Immediately after the earthquake took place, The Independent and The USA Today have posted the reports about it.
The earthquake did not have any big effects since no lives were lost and no injuries were experienced and can, therefore, only be referred to as a hazard. Moreover, it had no economic impact as there were no major damages caused by the earthquake. Nevertheless, the government of Manila should construct more safe-zones to be used for protection in case of any similar events occurring in the future. Additionally, the authorities should send off warnings before an earthquake takes place so that the necessary preparations and evacuations can be done to prevent loss of lives and physical damages. Being an area that is highly susceptible to earthquakes, the residents of this territory should be always prepared to deal with such events.
The Mudslide in Bajur Agency
On November 3, 2017, another extreme event, in particular, a mudslide, occurred in Sikandaro area of Bajur Agency, northwest of Pakistan, near the Afghan border (Idrees, 2017). The Quebec Times, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and Daily Pakistan were the first to report about the landslide. This event was not predicted, and there were no any warnings as it is normal to gather mud from the mountain in this region. In fact, individuals living in the area are used to fortifying mud and bricks houses with an additional layer of mud before the rains and snow begin. They go to the mountains to gather mud which leads to such tragedies. Thus, the incident happened abruptly, and nobody saw it coming. That day, people including children went to collect mud from the mountains terrain when the landslide occurred and buried them alive. Seven children died, and two girls were wounded as a result of the event (Mudslide Kills, 2017). Apart from the loss of eight lives and injuries experienced by two individuals, the mudslide had no other effects. No economic loss was reported, and therefore, it can only be classified as a hazard.
Actually, such events have been reported several times in Pakistan, and most of them result from the gathering of mud for houses. Officials in developing countries such as the one affected by the landslide lack advanced technological systems to predict such occurrences and give warnings to the residents. Therefore, this is a big challenge for them as more tragedies continue to be reported in these areas. Nevertheless, there are a few steps the community can take to deal with landslides better. The government can provide residents with better alternatives for their houses to prevent people from going to the mountain areas where mudslides are likely to occur. Alternatively, the authorities should come up with safe ways to help the residents in gathering mud or to define the most suitable time to do this.
Floods in Honduras and Nicaragua
The Pacific coast of Nicaragua is one of the places that also suffered from the extreme events namely flooding which happened on October 26, 2017 (Torrential Rain, 2017). A few media such as Telesur, The Sunday Times and The Gazette were the first ones to report about the disaster. The government issued an alert regarding heavy rains in some areas, and thousands of people were evacuated and relocated to safer places. Nevertheless, there were those who felt the consequences of the rainfalls. What happened was that downpours experienced in Central America led to the flood that occurred in Honduras and Nicaragua. The rivers in the areas burst their banks which resulted in the homes being flooded and bridges and roads being destroyed (Torrential Rain, 2017). Overall, more than 2,500 homes and power lines were destroyed, and 15,000 people were left without clean drinking water (Torrential Rain, 2017). Moreover, five people were found dead while other three were reported missing (Floods, 2017; Floods Kill, 2017). Four of the victims were miners working in a mine that got filled with water, and the fifth was a teenage girl who fell from a ravine (Torrential Rain, 2017). No economic loss was incurred. However, due to the loss of lives and damage of peoples properties, this event can be classified as a disaster.
To mitigate the negative effects of the floods in the future, the government should try relocating people living in the areas that are frequently affected by floods and provide them with homes in safer areas. In addition, the authorities should issue warnings when floods are likely to be experienced that will help in ensuring that residents in these places evacuate before the event. Such a measure will result in minimization of the loss of lives. Furthermore, the government should educate the residents on ways to protect themselves during severe floods. Lastly, able residents living in high-risk areas can be provided with flood insurance which will enable the individuals to protect their property.
Volcano Eruption in Mexico
The New York Post (2017) and The Forbes (2017) were one of the first to report about a Popocatepetl volcano eruption that happened 45 miles southeast of Mexico City on September 19, 2017. The eruption occurred after a deadly earthquake with the magnitude of 7.1 that hit Mexico City (Jaeger & Caceres, 2017). In fact, the given earthquake that took the lives of hundreds of people was the main cause of the eruption. The volcano-monitoring system in the country registered one explosion and low-intensity exhalations two days before the event occurred. These were the only warning signs that were communicated to the public, but nobody considered them seriously. However, its consequences were horrible. A church located in Atzitzihuacan at the foot of the mountain was completely ruined, and 15 worshipers who were celebrating Mass there died (Jaeger & Caceres, 2017). Due to the damaging effects that this event had, it can be classified as a disaster.
The earthquake that led to the eruption has been one of the deadliest ones experienced since 1985. As earthquakes and volcano eruptions are natural events that cannot be controlled, the residents and the government of Mexico can only learn to cope with the aftermath of such disasters. The authorities should provide immediate response in rescuing, assure relief food supplies, cater for other basic needs and deal with damages caused. Families living around active volcanos should be evacuated from these areas. Considering an event where an earthquake caused an eruption, the government should predict the occurrence of earthquakes and, after that, evacuate people in and around unsafe territories. Finally, residents should be educated on the safety measures to take when such disasters occur.
The Earthquake in Japan
On October 6, 2017, The Japan Times, The Sun and the website AliveForFootball reported about the earthquake that occurred 180 miles east of Iwaki, Honshu. There was a warning about the possibility of the quake with a magnitude of 5.9. However, it hit with a magnitude of 6.3 and shook the coast near Fukushima (Baker, 2017). The earthquake occurred two weeks after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the same coast (Baker, 2017). There were fears that the quake could spark the huge tidal waves or even tsunamis and result in disastrous consequences. Everyone remembered the earthquake that happened in 2011 and destroyed the power plant in Fukushima that led to the huge amounts of radioactive material being exposed (Baker, 2017). However, the experts later played this down. There were no reports of any deaths or injuries (Magnitude 6.3 Quake, 2017). Moreover, there was not information about economic losses.
It is worth mentioning that the given coast is situated in the Pacific ring of Fire that means it is one of the most susceptible areas to earthquakes. Furthermore, tsunamis could occur in the region as a result of earthquakes. Undoubtedly, such events are life-threatening to humans living near the coast as a tsunami could wipe out everything and an earthquake can result in serious damages. The responsible authorities in this area should, therefore, raise awareness of these possibilities and provide knowledge to the residents about the precautionary measures that they should take when such a disaster occurs. In addition, since this territory has a nuclear power plant, the government should ensure that in case of an earthquake, the facility can withstand the effects and avoid dangerous explosions that could lead to injuries or deaths, or the exposure of hazardous materials to the environment.
General Analysis of the Semester
It can be seen from the report that the extreme events cause numerous negative outcomes and have some things in common. Firstly, they may leave some people injured and others dead. Secondly, one thing that they have in common is that they lead to the destruction of property and the environment. For instance, earthquakes result in the breakdown of buildings and roads. Thirdly, as it can be noticed, most of these events are predictable, but the forecasts are not always accurate. For instance, the magnitude of earthquakes may differ from what the experts predict which may lead to disastrous outcomes as this causes inadequate preparations for the possible events. The earthquake that took place in Japan is a good illustration of such a situation.
In addition, based on the given report, it can be seen that some areas are highly susceptible to extreme events due to their geographical position and proximity to specific geological features such as mountains and oceans. Other regions have never experienced such events, but this does not mean that they are completely safe. Most of these events, especially earthquakes, are caused by shifting tectonic plates which have been subjected to a lot of pressure. Tsunamis also occur owing to conditions when tectonic plates in the oceans slip, and water rises above normal level leading to tsunamis. However, some of them may be due to human activities that lead to the altering of the environment. For example, different explosions during nuclear testing, mining, and other activities might trigger earthquakes that will result from the shocks created by them. The earthquake in Japan is a good example of the mentioned above fact. Even though the location is in an area that is prone to earthquakes, the nuclear power plant explosion that occurred in there earlier might also have contributed to the earthquake.
Prevention of the extreme events described in the given report is undeniably beyond humans control. The only thing that can be done is minimizing their effects. The appearance of these events can be predicted before they happen, and thus, adequate preparation can be done. Despite extreme events such as the ones discussed in this report being rare, their outcomes are deeply felt and may be remembered for a lifetime. Therefore, awareness should be raised concerning the activities which will help a lot of people in gaining the required knowledge on what to do when such events occur in the future. Their consequences are widely felt, and it means that the world should come together in supporting the people in the affected areas and those living in high-risk regions.