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Final report of extreme events

Report on Extreme Events

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Introduction

Generally, extreme events and disasters result from the Earth’s natural processes, and they can be weather-based, meteorological, hydrological, or climatological. Some of them include landslides, lighting strikes, heat waves, cold waves, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. All of the mentioned events can be categorized either as a hazard, disaster, or catastrophe depending on the impact they cause. The given report will discuss the incidences of flooding, landslide, lightning strike and earthquake considering their causes and influence on the surroundings.

Event 1. A Landslide in China

On June 24, 2017, a landslide was experienced in the south of Sichuan Province in China at 22:00 (GMT) (Su et al., 2017). The event was first reported by the local police (Su et al., 2017). The event can be classified as a hazard since it poses significant threat to life, health, environment, and property. Additionally, it usually takes place unexpectedly. A landslide in China was caused by heavy rainfalls which could be observed in the country for a long time. Huge amounts of water caused soil erosion which raised the chances of a landslide. The given event carried 636 million cubic feet of the earth and rocks, thus, destroying more than 40 houses (Su et al., 2017).

The community has demonstrated great response to the event. First, it has ensured that areas with steep slopes, weak soils, and cliffy tops were covered with enough vegetation. Furthermore, people have decided to pay more attention to public warnings to vacate such areas as early as possible. Moreover, several other measures have been proposed in the regions susceptible to the event. They include vacation of buildings with weak foundation and settlements on steep slopes. This has helped to restore the productivity of agricultural land, reduce destruction of houses and lower the number of casualties.

There is no doubt that in the future, the community should take precautionary measures. To start with, the relevant authorities should identify the areas that are at the greatest risk to avoid making settlements there. This requires knowing where past landslides took place. Additionally, the citizens should pay attention to the warnings that are given through the social media. Besides, the government should also take part in sharing the related information with the local communities so that people vacate before a landslide. Lastly, there should be regulations regarding the construction of facilities such as hospitals and emergency centers which are needed in case of the event.

Event 2. Lightning Strike in Moscow

A lightning strike occurred in Moscow, Russia, on June 30, 2017, and one of the first websites to report about it was Fox6Now.com (2017). This thunderstorm has been the biggest one in decades. The main cause of the event under consideration was heavy rainfall that came along with lots of lightning strikes. As a result, most people stayed in refugee camps. Additionally, one person was injured, and one individual was wounded as he sought shelter under a nearby tree. This particular lightning strike can be considered as a disaster since it led to significant damage to the economy, forced 40 planes to divert, resulted in loss of lives and destruction of human settlements (Thunderstorm, 2017).

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces reacted to the situation by promising to overcome such challenges on time. Moreover, newspapers, blogs, and videos were published with emergency information on lightning strikes. They described the causes of the thunderstorm, the importance of observing weather patterns and different ideas of what to do during a storm. Furthermore, people stayed away from damaged areas, and they assisted individuals with special needs to obtain safety and gave first aid to those who were struck by lightning.

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There are a few measures people should deploy to prepare for the occurrence of such a disaster. To begin with, they should study places that can provide adequate shelter when they notice that a lightning strike is due. Secondly, the government should issue warnings to reduce the use of cell phones which are the primary causes of deaths during a thunderstorm. Furthermore, if someone is driving, they should stay away from tall buildings and trees, and avoid contact with metal surfaces in or out of the vehicle and flooded roadways and apply the spectrum technique which involves structural response (Solari, 2016). Lastly, it should be noted that lightning strike travels well through wet grounds or surfaces; thus, appropriate measures should be taken to drain off excessive water after heavy downpours.

Event 3. Flooding in Thailand

Massive floods were experienced in northeastern part of Thailand on August 5, 2017 (AHA Center, 2017). They were immediately reported by the leading information source on world disasters ReliefWeb (2017). The floods were caused by the heavy rains brought about by the monsoon season which is common in the region from June to August. During this period, floods are frequent because of the low-pressure cell over the southeast of Asia owing to which heavy rainfalls become even worse. Actually, the Meteorological Department warned the nation that they would see thunderstorms and rains. However, the population of the state did not take the information seriously. The consequences of the event were devastating: 27 individuals died, two people were reported missing, and more than one million citizens were affected (AHA Center, 2017). As for the economic losses they accounted for about $300 m. Therefore, this flooding can be defined as a disaster because it is a threat with adverse effects on human lives, causing loss of life and property.

Luckily, the Asian community readily responded to this incident and supported the victims. In particular, a 24-hour flood watch was called in the area to decrease the rise of water levels that had risen to critical heights. The military units also helped in setting up water barriers. To be more prepared for such events in the future, the government should observe all flood-related records as this will help to solve problems in water management. Additionally, the authorities should start a new project to effectively deal with the floods because the geographic location and climate type would definitely impact the situation. The public should be informed and warned about the heavy rainfalls early enough before the floods take place which means that the officials need to invest in advanced equipment for weather forecasting to produce accurate reports. Lastly, people in Thailand should be encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and stay at refugee shelters whenever the government issues a warning.

Event 4. Earthquake in Tibet

On November 18, 2017, Tibet, China, experienced an earthquake (Kashyap, 2017). The Indian Express was one of the first resources to report this event. It was stated that the earthquake took place at around 4 am, and there was no information regarding the loss of lives or damage to the property (Kashyap, 2017). It can be explained by the fact that the region has sparse population, and there are no tall buildings. However, there were reports that the quake caused power blackout and building damage in several villages. The earthquake struck a depth of approximately 10 kilometers and had a magnitude of 6.4 (Kashyap, 2017). The occurrence of this earthquake is associated with the fact that this area is a boundary between the Indian and Eurasian plates. Thus, such extreme events are actually likely to take place here. Overall, the earthquake under consideration can be described as a hazard since it did not cause any physical destruction of property or loss of human lives despite being a significant threat.

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and National Commission for Disaster immediately took actions to study the event and its consequences. A team was dispatched to the trembling area in Tibet to find out the damage and to deliver relief materials to the individuals that needed help. Moreover, rescue teams were sent to the most affected zones to rescue the victims. Furthermore, the China Earthquake Administration initiated an advanced emergency response strategy. These measures play a significant role in reducing the risk of earthquakes and estimating the effects of earthquakes on the community. Despite the lack of reports about loss of life, it is essential to educate the population on what to do during an earthquake to be prepared in case another one occurs. Moreover, citizens should secure items that can fall or cause injuries, practice how to land on the ground with head and neck covered or run to a nearby shelter for protection. Besides, it is advisable for individuals to consult engineers to strengthen areas that are prone to damage thereby minimizing the possibilities of having casualties if disaster strikes.

Event 5. Lightning Strike in France

The Sun, The BBC News, The Jakarta Post and other media reported about a lightning strike that occurred in the town of Azerailes, northeast of France on September 2, 2017. No exact time was reported; it happened during the Vieux Canal Festival (Shammas, 2017). According to the witnesses, the lightning struck a big tent and injured 15 people who received first aid from the emergency unit present at the event (Fifteen Injured, 2017). Speaking about the causes of the event, it has to be noted that this was the time when thunderstorms were common and often accompanied by lightning. This event can be classified as a hazard because although there was a threat to peoples lives, health and property, it did not cause massive destruction. The emergency response teams helped the victims before they were rushed to the nearby hospitals. The government had also prepared for the incoming storms in advance. Moreover, after the event, the authorities insisted on the installation of lightning rods on homes which conduct lightning to the ground instead of passing it through the structure. This will help in reducing the risk of thunderstorm strikes hence preventing the damage of structures, destruction of property and loss of lives.

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Despite the several measures that were taken in response to the event, additional precautions to decrease the risk of harm resulting from lightning strike in the future should be considered. First, the government should cancel any planned event whenever a lightning strike is predicted. Secondly, no tents should be put under the trees to decrease the possibility of being struck by a lightning. Additionally, the meteorological department should take full responsibility in studying such events and passing warnings to the community. The government should insist on using advanced technology to predict and avoid all the adverse effects of lightning strikes.

Overall Semester Analysis

Regarding this semester, a lot has been accomplished in the exploration of extreme events, and some trends and patterns have been noticed. For instance, the occurrences of similar events like the lightning strikes which took place in France and Russia have been observed. Both events were predictable as they took place in the periods that are characterized by their presence. However, the one which occurred in Moscow was the most prominent thunderstorm experienced over a very long time. It has also been inferred that the cause of these events was natural geographical processes which include heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms that lead to soil erosion and, thus, landslides and lightning strikes. Collectively, the five events discussed are a threat to human beings and, more so, a drawback to the development of agriculture, lifestyle and industry whenever they occur.

Another point worth considering is emergency reactions to these events. The disasters were reported immediately through the media which, in turn, helped individuals to vacate the areas that were affected as fast as possible. Furthermore, warnings concerning the possibility of the events were given earlier by the governments and the media. However, some events such as the landslide that took place in Sichuan had no warning. What is more, not all communities reacted appropriately that led to disastrous consequences. Those who took the information seriously worked together with their authorities to come up with resiliency suggestions to prevent loss of lives and damage of properties. Speaking about the harm, some of these occurrences caused economic losses while others did not. This shows that some were more severe than others, thus, making it easier to classify them as disasters, catastrophes or hazards. Moreover, the community played a major role in helping the victims by administering first aid to those who had been injured. Besides, the public applied measures to cope with the effects of the events, thus, building massive resilience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the events studied were classified as hazards, catastrophes or disasters. Almost in all the studied cases, predictable weather conditions caused the events, and warnings were given to the communities. Some events had negative impacts on the public such as destruction of commercial properties, loss of lives and damage of human settlements. Both the government and civilians played a significant role in formulating resilience strategies that were developed to counter the disasters. Moreover, measures to prepare the communities for such occurrences in the future were outlined.

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