Natural disasters are extreme – they are basically sudden events that are caused due to changing environmental patterns. As the name explains – they are a disaster that not only damages the properties but also affect the people, flora and fauna around.
The worst part is that these disasters like earthquakes, floods, storms, landslides, tsunami, volcanoes, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires or heat waves strike anytime anywhere on the Earth without any warning.
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So, what causes them? Let’s find out!
Environmental disasters will occur whenever there is a disruption in the balance of the environment. But, it should be noted that human activities play a vital role in the severity as well as the frequency of disasters.
Technology indeed has done miracles and has proved to be a boon in many ways. But, with the world getting more advanced, the activities of people across the globe have led to environmental imbalance.
Below-mentioned are some of the reasons behind the occurrence of such natural calamities and their impact on the world as a whole.
Major Causes and Impact of Natural Disasters
Changes in the global climate and lifestyle are the major causes of such unfortunate events. They worsen the natural hazards while amplifying the risk of extreme weather issues like increase in air and water temperature.
This further leads to supercharged storms, rising sea levels, increased wind speeds, heavier precipitation, intense and prolonged droughts as well as floods.
As per the report from the United Nations taken on November 2015, the rate of natural disasters typically, weather-related, is growing. This can be clearly seen by the statistics mentioned below.
The yearly average of the weather-related disaster was 335 between 2005 and 2014. This means, there’s almost 14% increase from 1995 to 2004 and nearly twice an average recorded between 1985 and 1995.
The developing countries are said to be more vulnerable to such environmental disasters due to the following reasons:
- Poor construction
- Poor hygiene
- A high density of population
- Lack of economic safety nets
- Limited resources for disaster response and rebuilding
There’s a huge impact on human lives whenever such disasters strike on any country. The first and immediate impact observed during such times is displaced population.
During events like earthquakes and floods, people have to abandon their homes and seek shelter in other regions. The increase in the number of refugees, in turn, can affect the accessibility of health care, food and water supplies and much more.
During flood-like situations, stagnant water promotes multiplying of water-borne bacteria as well as malaria-causing mosquitoes. In short, health risks shoot up instantly in such flood-affected areas and it can further shoot up the death toll, if it fails to receive emergency relief measures from international aid organizations and others.
Third, there’s acute food scarcity observed in such areas. The loss of agricultural supplies and destroyed crops makes thousands of people go hungry.
That’s not it. Due to this, everything including food supply becomes expensive, reducing the family’s purchasing power and ultimately increasing the risk of severe malnutrition.
Thus, when a disaster strikes a community, an area, a state or a country, it really takes a lot of time in rebuilding and getting back to the normal life.
Though natural, these disasters also occur due to our negligence towards protecting the environment and the world as a whole.
As there’s a famous saying – better late than never; why not act from today itself?
Let’s not wait for any other natural disaster to occur simply due to our negligence towards the environment. People from all across the world should come together in the interest of protecting our nature with conscious efforts.
If we are successful in keeping our environment safe and secure, the rate of such environmental disasters is bound to reduce. It definitely is not in our hands to prevent all of them.
But still, we should try our best to avoid the climate-based disasters simply by making a positive difference to the environment.
For now, let’s take a small tour to some of these climate-based natural disasters that have struck at different areas of the world and that can be under our control and if not, we can at least make it easier for the disaster-struck people to fight against it bravely.
1. The Disastrous South Asia Floods
Massive floods devastated many regions of South Asia in August 2017. The heavy monsoon rains and intense flooding affected an estimated 40 million people across Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.
This environmental disaster was so intense that it has been described as the region’s worst flood in 40 years. Few of the states which had the most destructive impact are Bihar, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, a Nepalese southern region of Terai and the districts of Kurigram and Chimari located in Northern Bangladesh.
In this tragic incident, millions of people lost their homes, livelihoods, and property.
According to UNICEF, approximately 31 million people were affected in India alone, more than 8 million, including about 3 million children in Bangladesh and about 1.7 million people in Nepal.
This level of rains and floods is by far unusual and unheard in the areas that have encountered such flood-like situation before.
2. The Strongest Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma is considered to be the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in the recorded history till now. In September 2017, it made landfall on Barbuda in 37 hours at 185 miles per hour.
These winds extended to other areas of Puerto Rico, the northern part of Haiti and the Dominican Republic with 15 inches of rainfall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death toll reached 129. It shockingly damaged 90% of the buildings in Barbuda while destroying almost all forms of communication.
Sadly, it left 60% of the people homeless causing widespread and catastrophic damage.
3. The Devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai
A tropical depression was formed on the eastern coast of Mozambique that further intensified to 120 miles per hour on March 14, 2019. Due to the tornado and floods that followed, it has resulted in extensive damage in the affected areas including Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and South Africa.
Thousands were injured while around 1000 died due to this natural disaster. Looking at the destruction and damage, Zimbabwe was declared as a state of disaster.
Still, there’s a concern that if the rains continued like this in future, there are chances of more flood damage from the already over-flowing rivers.
4. The Alabama Tornado Outbreak
The National Weather Service in Birmingham tagged this Tornado as severe as it smashed homes and damaged the power lines including a massive steel cell tower in March 2019. It affected both the areas – Lee County and Alabama killing 23 people and injuring many more.
The casualties were not confirmed, but the East Alabama Center received more than 40 patients that were hit by Tornado.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Darden characterized this tornado as a monster by saying that it stretched over at least 24 miles. It was, indeed, one of the deadliest tornadoes of the recent years.
5. Heat Wave in India and Pakistan
As the global average temperature climbs up, extreme heat events are occurring more often for a longer time period. One such deadliest heat wave was recorded in summer 2015.
It killed nearly 2,500 people in India and 2,000 people in Pakistan. That’s not the end. Yet again in 2017, both these countries were gripped again by scorching heat where Pakistan observed the temperature of 53.5 Celsius.
The heat wave has not spared other countries in the Middle East and Southern Europe too. With every passing year, summers are getting extreme, making it difficult for the people to fight against the heat.
It’s Time to Act Now and Reduce the Rate of Natural Disasters
Regardless of the countries being rich or poor, no one is spared from different and extreme environmental disasters. Those who are underdeveloped are least responsible for such crisis, yet come under the grip of such undesirable events.
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Thus, it’s high time for the world to join hands together and cope up with the climatic impact, especially the ones that are under human control. This will, in turn, save us from the consequences of the natural disasters occurring in different parts of the world.
Source: Interesting Engineering