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How Can Natural Disasters Be Avoided, or

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Introduction

HOW CAN NATURAL DISASTERS BE AVOIDED, OR THEIR EFFECTS AT LEAST REDUCED? Natural disasters kill more people on a global scale than wars. According to the United Nations, in the last decade alone, natural disasters have caused the deaths of more than a million people, affected 1.8 billion people in terms of loss of health, homes and livelihoods, and cost $685 billion in economic and structural damage. It is virtually impossible to prevent natural disasters such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Such events are caused by climatic and geological occurrences that are inevitable and cannot be avoided. Hence, our focus should be placed on lessening the severity of the impact they have on every aspect of our lives. We can successfully reduce their damaging effects by implementing effective monitoring and warning systems, building codes, flood defences, comprehensive disaster management plans and educating citizens on disaster preparedness. The best way to minimise the effects of a natural disaster is to establish early detection systems that allow for advance warning to be given to national and global communities. Sophisticated seismic monitoring networks can identify significant movements of the earth's crust, therefore providing early notification of an imminent volcanic eruption. ...read more.

Middle

Many structures in California have been built on shockproof, rubber foundations, which can resist ground movement and shaking. Most buildings in Japan are constructed with steel frames and strong concrete walls. These structures can also resist wind damage caused by tornadoes and hurricanes and the force of water that results from tsunamis. Thus it is evident that building codes play an important role in protecting property and, subsequently, decreasing the possibility of loss of life. The construction of flood defences is vital in preventing damage caused by inundation of land surfaces and populated areas. Many rivers and ocean fronts in Japan are lined with extensive dike systems, which are long, elevated walls made of sand bags, concrete or stone. The Netherlands is also prone to flooding as a result of the fact that the country is situated on low-lying land that is often many feet below sea-level. In an effort to combat economic losses that are caused by flooding, many crops are grown in polders, or fields that have been created by building dikes to hold back the sea during storms. Floodwaters can be pumped from the polders using windmills. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has been said that the death toll arising from the recent tidal wave which hit Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka might have been reduced by two-thirds if the inhabitants, especially those in coastal areas, knew the warning signs of a tsunami. In conclusion, one must recognise that there is no way to avoid natural disasters, hence the only way to reduce their effects is to detect the threat in advancer and prepare for its effects. While it is impossible to completely prevent human casualties, loss of homes and livelihoods and damage to the economy, every country can take steps to lessen the occurrence of such loss and quickly move towards rescue and recovery after disasters have struck. Monitoring and warning systems are of critical importance, and this fact has been emphasised by recent tidal waves that killed thousands of people who were caught unaware in countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. Places such as California and Japan are testimony to the value of building codes that minimise structural damage and therefore lessen the loss of life. These examples prove that the effects of natural disasters can indeed by reduced so long as proper measure are put in place before such inevitable events occur. ...read more.

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