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Human Preparedness for Natural Disasters

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    Natural disasters eARTHQUAKE, TYPHOON, AND TORNADO Kenneth W. Lingenfelter Instructor Wael Hassian Park University Internet Campus A course paper presented to the School for Arts and Sciences and Distance Learning in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Baccalaureate Natural Disasters Park University April 24, 2013 Earthquakes, typhoons, and tornadoes continue to devastate the United States and the entire plant through the activities of planet Earths natural movement and global warming elements.

    Earthquakes can happen at any time using the plate tectonics theory as individual faults where Earth ruptures and the two sides move past each other. (Abbott, 2012) They are defined as: the divergent or pull-apart motion at spreading centers cause rock to fail in tension; the slide-past motion occurs as the rigid plates fracture and move around the curved Earth; and the convergent motion that occur at subduction zones and in continent-continent collisions store immense amounts of energy that are released in Earth’s largest tectonic earthquakes. Abbott, 2012) Typhoons (Hurricane) are huge tropical cyclones in which heat is built up over long periods of summer heat over seawater at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 200ft of ocean; the air is warm, humid, and unstable enough to sustain convection. (Abbott, 2012) The tropical disturbance is the development of low-pressure with the organization of thunderstorms with very weak surface winds. Tornadoes are normally descending from large thunderstorms and create the strongest winds of any weather phenomena.

    Tornadoes are extremely dangerous with most violent US tornadoes moving from southwest to northeast with winds speeds to register at 310 mph. (Abbott, 2012) In 2012; natural disasters cost the United States over $160 billion with 9500 people losing life. Hurricane Sandy is responsible for the majority of economic loss in 2012. (Munich Re, 2013) This essay will discuss elements relating to earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes as they contributed to devastation around the world with three specific countries under review.

    The Great Chilean Earthquake happened on May 22, 1960 at 19:11:14 UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) and if converted to Chile Standard Time, the Earthquake approximately occurred at 7:11pm. It also happens to be the largest earthquake noted in the 20th century. The earthquake occurred about 100 miles off the coast of southern Chile. It was characterized as an 8. 6M level earthquake at the time, but in recent years, it was re-estimated to actually a higher magnitude at 9. 5M. The epicenter of the Earthquake was 60 meters beneath the ocean floor, located at 39. 5S and 74. W with a focal depth of 33m. (Lander, 1989) I always thought that Chile and South America as a whole, was a tropical place located moderately above sea level and that it was known for its highly populated and urbanized city, Santiago. Therefore, after doing some research and learning that a major Earthquake occurred here a mere 60 years ago made me curious. I started to wonder what precautions Chile is taking to make sure that if another hazard does strike again they are prepared. Alternatively, what type of warning system the country has in place to make sure its citizens are aware?

    Once I started to ask myself these questions, I knew that I wanted to dig deeper into the topic of The Great Chilean Earthquake and find out what made it so great. The massive earthquake affected multiple areas and multiple countries with a tremendous amount of economic cost and loses of life. In Chile, Valdivia and Puerto Montt affected the most due to the fact these cities of Chile were the closest to the epicenter. The majority of the buildings in these areas were demolished from the energy of the aftermath of the earthquake.

    The largest source of energy was established through the tsunami in which occurred due to the effects of the initial earthquake. The tsunami was the cause for the majority of the devastating causing over $550 million in damages and 330-2000 lives lost or still missing. Over 6000 miles away a portion of Hilo, Hawaii felt the wrath of the earthquake and tsunami with $62 million in damages and 62 deaths. The main cause was determined that intervals of 8-20ft waves crashed the small city of the island. The third wave was estimated at 20 feet, which engulfed the entire city causing havoc and panic for the entire community.

    Waves reaching to 6m impacted the coast of Japan destroying 1600 homes, 199 were killed, with $50 million in economic damages along the coast of Honsho. Over 9000 miles from the epicenter, California reported 5. 6m waves crashing the coach causing minimal damage to the docks in only 15 hours after the earthquake occurrence. (Natural Geophysical Data Center, 1989) Recovery efforts for initial life support began on the following day, May 23rd, with transportation of antibiotics, blankets, and clothing.

    The Ministry of Interior and Finance, along with the United States Embassy and Chilean Red Cross coordinated efforts for which within hours aided in facilitating the Churches Welfare Department. The United States conducted efforts through flying in complete hospitals with doctors and nurses aided in the medical relief. As long as the emergency continued, the churches continued to ship in clothing, blankets, medicines, and material for rebuilding with no cost to the Chile government. Through research it was determined the relief effort continued for approximately 18-years.

    During the time of the earthquake, Chile’s population was estimated at 7. 6 million and will continue to grow to 20. 06 million by the year 2050. (De Wulf, 2008) No hazard mitigations were made in regards to The Great Chilean Earthquake. Although an earthquake occurred in Chile in 1939, only a mere 21 years earlier, very few preparations were made for future hazards. Although there were sirens sounding within the city, many residents did not know what they meant and felt it was safe to return to the previously evacuated area.

    The few things that Chile did have to warn people (such as the alarm) failed because no one knew the right way to respond! Since Chile is located on a subduction zone as located between two plates, they are an extremely earthquake prone area so it is imperative that they set up a warning system. In addition, the government should have an emergency system set up so that when an earthquake does strike they can evacuate people safely and efficiently. Chile has to take better precautions in the near future before another earthquake strikes. Parshall, 2009) Earthquakes and tornadoes during the early 1900’s were similar as relating to early warning systems. In 1925 citizens in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana were not given any warning and the Tri-State tornado caused panic and devastation in its path. For 3. 5 hours and a distance traveled of over 219 miles through four states, the Tri-State Tornado devastated multiple communities leaving nearly 700 died and over $16. 5 million worth of economic damage. (Galvin, 2007) The tornado began the horrific journey in Ellington, MO. leaving a tremendously wide path and killing one farmer before tracking its way to a mining town called “Leadanna. ” The tornado continued on a killer track and would eventually reach Murphysboro, IL. where the largest death toll within a single city in US history would account for 243 deaths. (Galvin, 2007) Included in these deaths were 25 children from three different schools for which were killed by the structure of the buildings crushing them while they searched for safety? Murphysboro’s losses totaled over $10 million in damages.

    As the ? -mile wide tornado moved in to Indiana, multiple funnels became visible killing 71 people without letting up. The funnel finally dissipated about 10 miles northeast of Princeton, IN leaving four states and multiple communities confused, lost, devastated, and completely without homes. (Galvin, 2007) Recovery efforts for most of the communities did not happen as majority of the towns were completely gutted. It was in fact another 23 years before modern tornado forecasting would be found through the help of two Air Force officers.

    A tornado ripped through Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, OK on 20 March 1948 and the commanding general asked his two meteorologists to research and come up with tornado predictors. (Galvin, 2007) In only a short period, the two officers were successful in determining a second tornado that could possibly hit Tinker Air Force Base once again with a 20-mile difference. The commanding general issued orders for mitigation sparing much damage to the base. It did not take long for the Weather Bureau to drop the ban on the word “tornado. (Galvin, 2007) Today, technology and research allow for the Weather Bureau to track and give tornado warnings and watches anytime and anywhere. Even with the reports, tornados are unpredictable and could strike in any location for the watch area. During the tornado, the population in the United States was 115 million and is estimated to grow to 403 million in 2050. Tornadoes can be the aftermath of a typhoon after it reaches land and continues its path creating powerful thunderstorms. Typhoons are generally very strong because of the Pacific’s warm water, and therefore are more frequent.

    They are also classified on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Typhoon Bopha slammed into the Philippine’s on December 4, 2012 packing 87 mph winds with gusts reaching over 100mph. The typhoon caused 300,000 people to seek refuge in evacuation centers due to torrential downpours, downed trees, downed power lines, and destroyed homes in the local communities. The death toll reached 423 with more expected with recovery efforts while uncovering the land in which has been filled with mud from mudslides caused by the heavy rains. Gomez, 2012) It was only a year ago when a similar storm killed 1,200 residents living in Mindanao as the Philippine’s is hit by almost 20 typhoons annually. The videos associated with the disaster represent the devastation of this storm on high-populated area with low-cost structures. Even if the residents were to evacuate they truly had nowhere to go as the storm surge created impossible action to recovery to take place. In 2012, the Philippine’s is home to 93. 2 million residents and is expected to grow to 154 million by the year 2050.

    Recovery and relief efforts would seem pointless and extremely difficult knowing the percentages for a typhoon causing destruction in the same year. “The UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) today praised the improved performance of early warning systems in the Philippines as Typhoon Bopha cut a swathe of destruction across the country resulting in over 200 deaths and significant economic losses. UNISDR Head of Regional Office for Asia, Jerry Velasquez, said: “This time last year over 1,400 people died on Mindanao in a similar event but this time big improvements in the early warning systems have saved many lives.

    More than 167,000 people have been evacuated to shelters. ” (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2012) In conclusion, as our population continues to grow around the world, so will the death tolls associated with natural disasters. Governments will continue to spend money for new technology in warning systems enabling them to conduct faster and efficient warning systems to those in danger. We as a society must make the decision, if a decision is possible, to live in areas with a high percentage of a disaster striking your community.

    Cohabitation, knowledge, preparedness, and educating ourselves with tools and strategies to enhance readiness and personal safety will help in providing for the future. “We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness. ” (Petra Nemcova) Works Cited Abbott, P. (2012). Natural disasters. (8th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Munich RE. (2013, January 3). Natural catastrophe statistics for 2012 dominated by weather extremes in the USA . Retrieved from http://www. munichre. com/ Lander, J. 1989). Historic earthquakes. Retrieved from http://earthquake. usgs. gov/earthquakes Natural Geophysical Data Center. (1989). Great earthquake of Chile 1960. Retrieved from http://www. ngdc. noaa. gov De Wulf, M. (2008). Population pyramid of the world. Retrieved from http://populationpyramid. net Archilla, E. (2010, September 14). 82nd anniversary of hurricane san felipe ii. Retrieved from http://www. thelastspaniard. com/2010/09/14/hurricane-san-felipe-ii/ Parshall, A. (2009, August 6). El gran terremoto de valdivia, 1960 (updated). Retrieved from http://www. keepapitchinin. rg/2009/04/06/mormon-missionaries-and-el-gran-terremoto-de-valdivia-1960/ The Tornado Project. (1999). The top ten us killer tornadoes. Retrieved from http://www. tornadoproject. com/toptens/toptens. htm Galvin, J. (2007, July 30). Tri-state tornado: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, march 1925. Retrieved from http://www. popularmechanics. com/science/environment/natural-disasters/4219866 Gomez, J. (2012, December 4). Powerful typhoon kills at least 74 in Philippines. Retrieved from http://www. usatoday. com/story/weather/2012/12/03/typhoon-bopha-philippines/1743481/ United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. (2012, December 5).

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