Natural Disasters

~ Introduction to Disasters ~ "A disaster is a natural or man-made event that negatively affects life, property, livelihood or industry often resulting in permanent changes to human societies, ecosystems and environment."

As the definition suggests, disasters are highly disruptive events that cause suffering, deprivation, hardship, injury and even death, as a result of direct injury, disease, the interruption of commerce and business, and the partial or total destruction of critical infrastructure such as homes, hospitals, and other buildings, roads, bridges, power lines, etc. Disasters can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, or tornadoes, or they can be due to man-made events, either accidental (such as an accidental toxic spill or nuclear power plant event), or deliberately caused (such as various terrorist bombings and poisonings). Certain types of natural disasters are more likely to occur in particular parts of the world. For instance, areas near coastline, lakes or rivers are more likely to experience flooding problems than are land-locked areas. However, most every place you could live is prone to one type of natural disaster or another. No place is absolutely safe from natural disaster. And, of course it goes without saying, that no place is safe from the threat of terrorism and other man-made disaster events.

It may be impossible to avoid disasters, but it isn't impossible to plan ahead of time so as to minimize the impact that any given disaster might have on you or your family's health, safety and property. There are steps you can take ahead of time, including, purchasing the proper types of insurance, preparing a disaster kit and supplies, making a disaster plan and rehearsing it with your family, and staying informed so that you can do your best to get out of the way of predictable dangerous occurrences, that can help you, your family, and your property stay as safe as possible. The following documents describe various types of disasters that can occur, and outline the important steps to take to prepare for their occurrence.

A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard (e.g. flood, tornado , volcano eruption, earthquake, or landslide) that affects the environment, and leads to financial, environmental and/or human losses. The resulting loss depends on the capacity of the population to support or resist the disaster, and their resilience.This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability."A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without vulnerability, e.g. strong earthquakes in uninhabited areas. The term natural has consequently been disputed because the events simply are not hazards or disasters without human involvement.

A natural hazard is a threat of an event that will have a negative effect on people or the environment. Many natural hazards are related, e.g. earthquakes can result in tsunamis, drought can lead directly to famine and disease. A concrete example of the division between hazard and disaster is that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a disaster, whereas earthquakes are a hazard. Hazards are consequently relating to a future occurrence and disasters to past or current occurrences. Hazard is the probability of occurrence of a damaging phenomenon within a specified period of time and within a given area (Varnes, 1984). Natural disasters are of various types like earthquakes (tsunami), floods, landslides, forest fires, thunderstorms and volcanic eruption etc. The recent Tsunami induced earthquake of magnitude 9.0 of focal depth 30km, which was occurred with epicenter (3.298°N, 95.779°E) on 26th December 2004 (00:58:50 UTC), had swept thousands of

Sri Lanka. The epicenter of the earthquake was identified at off Sumatra Coast of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. On the other hand landslides creating mass destruction in the hilly regions. Seychelles. Maldives. Thailand. forming weathered metaquartzites along with inner bedded sericite quartzite and a thin vencer of regolith along most vulnerable and weakest surface. The earthquake has taken place in most active seismic region characterized by tectonic features of North South trending Indo-Burma ranges in the north. . planning and management of natural resources. drought assessment. cutting of unprotected shore edges. Andaman-Nicobar islands and the Sumatra fault system in the southeast.lives and property in the south-eastern countries viz. flood assessment. landslide zonation maps. According to the available fault plane solutions (USGS) the event took place because of thrust type movement. Massive rock-fall taking place following incessant rains and cloud burst which widened the enlarged joints. Myanmar. India. Malaysia. Bangladesh. Tanzania.. Freezing and thawing due to snow and swelling action of rainwater had built up shearing stresses to a level that exceeds the shearing resistance of the slope. The tsunami induced waves also causes the land erosion. The information generated in all the above could be used for Coastal Zone Management and further Tsunami related disaster management. telecommunications and other administrative purposes. The advances in the field of Geographical Information System (GIS) improved the quality presentation with accuracy of positions in real coordinates. Apart from the tsunami generated casualties it is also likely that direct earthquake induced damages has also affected the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands. This latest technology has been used effectively for preparation of cadastral maps. Kenya and South Africa (source: USGS). In the Himalayan mountain areas Landslides are frequently triggered by rainfall in the human and environmental impacts. irrigation projects. Somalia. Indonesia. Disaster Mitigation could be possible only through the proper understanding of the hazard occurrence phenomena. town planning. Slope failure is also a major cause for these landslide disasters and was reported by many studies region under the influence of a monsoon climate and this is responsible for a variety of related to the Himalayan region.

. there are other contributing factors affecting the original slope stability. pre-conditional factors build up specific sub-surface conditions that make the area/slope prone to failure. deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows. which can occur in offshore. coastal and onshore environments. Although the action of gravity is the primary driving force for a landslide to occur. whereas the actual landslide often requires a trigger before being released. Typically. such as rock falls.LAND MOVEMENT DISASTERS Landslide Ferguson Slide on California State Highway A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement.

A powder snow avalanche An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a slope. The toe of an avalanche in Alaska's Kenai Fjords. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain. an avalanche can mix air and water .Avalanche A powder snow avalanche in the Himalayas near Mount Everest. from either natural triggers or human activity.

tremor. magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas). In mountainous terrain avalanches are among the most serious objective hazards to life and property. 3 km/s up to 13 km/s. depending on the density and elasticity of the medium. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale. The moment magnitude (or the related and mostly obsolete Richter magnitude) of an earthquake is conventionally reported. because seismic waves travel through the whole Earth's interior. with magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being mostly imperceptible and magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas. Measuring and locating earthquakes Earthquakes can be recorded by seismometers up to great distances. An earthquake's point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. In its most generic sense.with the descending snow. The term epicenter refers to the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter. Earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake. When a large earthquake epicenter is located offshore. In the Earth's interior the shock- . and serac collapses from an icefall. The absolute magnitude of a quake is conventionally reported by numbers on the Moment magnitude scale (formerly Richter scale. are primarily composed of flowing snow. landslides. At the Earth's surface.or pressure waves). The propagation velocity of the seismic waves ranges from approx. with their destructive capability resulting from their potential to carry an enormous mass of snow rapidly over large distances. and are distinct from mudslides. Powerful avalanches have the capability to entrain ice. earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacing the ground. but also by volcanic activity. trees. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults. Every tremor produces different types of seismic waves which travel through rock with different velocities: the longitudinal P-waves (shock. the transverse S-waves (both body waves) and several surface waves (Rayleigh and Love waves). The shaking in earthquakes can also trigger landslides and occasionally volcanic activity. and nuclear experiments. and other material on the slope. mine blasts. the seabed sometimes suffers sufficient displacement to cause a tsunami. however avalanches are always initiated in snow. rocks. rock avalanches. whereas the felt magnitude is reported using the modified Mercalli scale (intensity II-XII). the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event — whether a natural phenomenon or an event caused by humans — that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer. rock slides. also known as a seismograph.

or P waves travel much faster than the S waves (approx. . A tsunami overwhelms the ships in the harbor. geomorphological.[24] The ground-shaking is measured by ground acceleration. This effect is called site or local amplification. The effects of earthquakes include. Specific local geological. the velocity increases within the deep mantle to ~13 km/s. and the local geological and geomorphological conditions. Also the depth of the hypocenter can be computed roughly. It is principally due to the transfer of the seismic motion from hard deep soils to soft superficial soils and to effects of seismic energy focalization owing to typical geometrical setting of the deposits. relation 1. Effects/impacts of earthquakes 1755 copper engraving depicting Lisbon in ruins and in flames after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The differences in travel time from the epicentre to the observatory are a measure of the distance and can be used to image both sources of quakes and structures within the Earth. but are not limited to. As a consequence.7 : 1). The velocity of S-waves ranges from 2–3 km/s in light sediments and 4–5 km/s in the Earth's crust up to 7 km/s in the deep mantle. In solid rock P-waves travel at about 6 to 7 km per second. the distance from the epicenter. which killed an estimated 60. the first waves of a distant earth quake arrive at an observatory via the Earth's mantle. principally resulting in more or less severe damage to buildings and other rigid structures.000 people. which may amplify or reduce wave propagation. and geostructural features can induce high levels of shaking on the ground surface even from low-intensity earthquakes. the following: Shaking and ground rupture Shaking and ground rupture are the main effects created by earthquakes. The severity of the local effects depends on the complex combination of the earthquake magnitude.

1. The amount of silica determines how sticky (level of viscosity) the magma is and water provides the explosive potential of steam. which may be of the order of several metres in the case of major earthquakes. low silica . high silica (very viscous) . When the magma chamber has been completely filled. low water.Ground rupture is a visible breaking and displacement of the Earth's surface along the trace of the fault.pasty lava often building domes .runny lava flows (not viscous) ) 2. low water. Ground rupture is a major risk for large engineering structures such as dams. bridges and nuclear power stations and requires careful mapping of existing faults to identify any likely to break the ground surface within the life of the structure Volcanic eruptions An eruption begins when pressure on a magma chamber forces magma up through the conduit and out the volcano's vents. the type of eruption partly depends on the amount of gases and silica in the magma.

dormant.particles less than 1/100 inch in diameter Dust particles may be carried great distances. Active volcanoes erupt constantly.A piece of lava that has sharp corners. Volcanic activity is classified by how often a volcano erupts.Cinder so bubbly that it floats in water.  Pumice .  Block .  Bomb .3. low silica(not viscous) .  Cinder . Intermittent . Rocks ripped loose from the inside of the volcano or torn apart by the gas may be shot into the air with the lava. The rock fragments fall back to earth in many different shapes and sizes:  Dust . intermittent.A rounded piece of newly hardened lava which takes shape while flying through the air. These rocks blown out of a volcano are called pyroclastic rocks.  Ash . high silica (very viscous) . A volcano may be active. It may pour out in gentle streams called lava flows or erupt violently into the air. the pressure in the pipe will build up very high resulting in an explosion.explosion Obstacles also influence the type of eruption. In a powerful eruption they may be carried around the earth several times.fragments less than 1/5 inch in diameter Most volcanic ash falls to the surface and cemented together by water to form a rock called volcanic tuff. high water. or extinct. When magma reaches earth's surface it is called lava. high water.Bubbly rock formed by liquid lava cooling in the air. When the pipe is blocked by a stopple or an accumulation of pumice.fountain of runny lava 4.

Floods can also occur in rivers. . While flood damage can be virtually eliminated by moving away from rivers and other bodies of water. when the strength of the river is so high it flows out of the river channel. with the result that some of the water escapes its normal boundaries. people have lived and worked by the water to seek sustenance and capitalize on the gains of cheap and easy travel and commerce by being near water. such as a river or lake. particularly at bends or meanders and causes damage to homes and businesses along such rivers.[2] While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt. since time out of mind. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water. the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. it is not a significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas used by man like a village. That humans continue to inhabit areas threatened by flood damage is evidence that the perceived value of living near the water exceeds the cost of repeated periodic flooding. which overflows or breaks levees.volcanoes erupt fairly regularly. Dormant volcanoes are inactive.[1] In the sense of "flowing water". WATER DISASTERS Flood A flood is an overflow or accumulation of an expanse of water that submerges land. city or other inhabited area. but not long enough to determine whether they will erupt again or not.

000 individuals. rivers prone to floods are often carefully managed.[5] bunds.Control In many countries across the world. Approximately 86. Death Toll 2.000– 2. such as sea walls.700. and weirs are used to prevent rivers from bursting their banks. and barrier islands Deadliest floods Below is a list of the deadliest floods worldwide.000– 3. When these defences fail.000 500.000 145. reservoirs. result of Typhoon Nina.000 1887 Yellow River (Huang He) China flood 1938 Yellow River (Huang He) China flood Banqiao Dam failure. Maldives 1935 Yangtze river flood China 1975 2004 1935 .000 Event 1931 China floods Location China Date 1931 1887 1938 230.000. Defences such as levees.000– 700.000 died during subsequent disease. Coastal flooding has been addressed in Europe and the Americas with coastal defences. India (mostly in Tamil Nadu). Indian Ocean tsunami Thailand. emergency measures such as sandbags or portable inflatable tubes are used. showing events with death tolls at or above 100.000[18] 900.000 people died from flooding China and another 145. beach nourishment.000 231.500.

S. This would also make them unnoticeable from the air. Tsunamis are enormous waves caused by an underground disturbance such as an earthquake. and hit land with waves topping 100 feet in height.more than St. Areas at greatest risk are less than 25 feet above sea level and within one mile of the shoreline. In the open ocean. and even meteorites can also generate a tsunami. As the waves approach the coast. Limnic eruption Jump to: navigation. storm surge Netherlands 1530 100. tsunamis would not be felt by ships because the wavelength would be hundreds of miles long. fires from ruptured tanks or gas lines. even before a warning is issued. If a major earthquake is felt.000 1911 Yangtze river flood China 1911 Tsunamis Tsunamis. The word is Japanese and means "harbor wave. a tsunami could reach the beach in a few minutes. and medical facilities). However. but a tsunami is actually a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles per hour in the open ocean. Tsunamis are ocean waves produced by earthquakes or underwater landslides. coastline. are most common along the Pacific coast. also known as seismic sea waves. with an amplitude of only a few feet. volcanic eruptions. contamination of drinking water. Tsunamis are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves.000 100. Landslides. Unusual wave heights have been known to be over 100 feet high. but can strike anywhere along the U. fire. waves that are 10 to 20 feet high can be very destructive and cause many deaths or injuries. They can move hundreds of miles per hour. search . and the loss of vital community infrastructure (police.000 Hanoi and Red River Delta flood North Vietnam 1971 100. Felix's Flood. Tsunamis are most often generated by earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor. their speed decreases and their amplitude increases. Most deaths caused by a tsunami are because of drowning. Associated risks include flooding." because of the devastating effects these waves have had on low-lying Japanese coastal communities.

they can bring near-whiteout conditions. the difference between blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind. suffocating wildlife. are actually separate types of disaster events WEATHER DISASTERS Blizzard A blizzard is a severe storm condition characterized by low temperatures. Scientists believe landslides. Lakes in which such activity occurs may be known as limnically active lakes or exploding lakes. silty after a limnic eruption A limnic eruption. and heavy blowing snow. which restrict visibility to near zero. By definition. Regardless of the variety of blizzard. is a rare type of natural disaster in which carbon dioxide (CO2) suddenly erupts from deep lake water. in that ground blizzards require high winds to stir up snow that has already fallen. Blizzards have a negative impact on local economies. and can paralyze regions where snowfall is unusual or rare for days at a time. rather than fresh snowfall. although indirectly related. strong winds. Such an eruption may also cause tsunamis in the lake as the rising CO2 displaces water.Lake Nyos. Ground blizzards are a variation on the traditional blizzard. Cyclonic storms . also referred to as a lake overturn. livestock and humans. Some features of limnically active lakes include: • • • • CO2-saturated incoming water A cool lake bottom indicating an absence of direct volcanic interaction with lake waters An upper and lower thermal layer with differing CO2 saturations Proximity to areas with volcanic activity Scientists have recently determined. that limnic eruptions and volcanic eruptions. volcanic activity. or explosions can trigger such an eruption. from investigations into the mass casualties in the 1980s at Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos.

Most large-scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure[3][4]. Where do Droughts occur? Droughts usually occur in hot dry areas of land. a cyclone is an area of closed. Most droughts tend to occur during summer. 1987 In meteorology. mesocyclones. as the weather is hot and water is quickly evaporated. Warm-core cyclones such as tropical cyclones. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. If a farmer has lost his crop due to drought then he will get no money to pay for the next seasonal crop. for example: If a plant dies from lack of water then the animal that eats that plant will also die. Water is one of the main ingredients in the food chain. The largest low-pressure systems are cold-core polar cyclones and extratropical cyclones which lie on the synoptic scale.Polar low over the Barents Sea on February 27. The rain that does fall will be quickly absorbed into the . so if there is not enough water they will eventually die from thirst and dehydration. Droughts can last for years in most extreme cases. the cycle will then continue to die out. However. circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth[1][2]. In most cases the area is dry because there is very minimal rainfall. These types of droughts effect outback properties and can devastate crops and livestock. and polar lows lie within the smaller mesoscale. Plants and animals need water to survive. many crops are effected. Droughts What causes Drought? Droughts are caused by lack of rain over a long period of time. If rain does occur it usually isn't enough for the ground to absorb before it is evaporated again.

1974 1976 Severe wind storms Cars.1983 1972 . The METAR reporting code for hail 5 mm or greater in diameter is GR.ground or blown away by the dry air flow that moves along the ground. upward motion of air with the parent thunderstorm (similar to tornadoes) and lowered heights of the .1938 Place Cause Destruction 1982 . with the larger stones coming from severe thunderstorms. homes and farms Great Plains of the dried out the land and destroyed in dust USA blew the top layer of storms soil away No rain for more than 60% of Australian Australia one year sheep and cattle died The countries financial Africa Decreased Rainfall business went down It did not rain from June 1975 to Water rationing was Britain September 1976. greatly needed in the Droughts are very larger cities of Britain rare in England Hailstorms Large hailstones up to 5 centimetres (2 in) in diameter with concentric rings Hail is a form of solid precipitation which consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice.[1] usually at the leading edge of a severe storm system. Therefore the land is very dry and not many things can live there. that are individually called hail stones. Hail is possible within 2 nautical miles (3. Hail stones on Earth consist mostly of water ice and measure between 5 and 150 millimeters in diameter. while smaller hailstones and graupel are coded GS. Major Droughts Year 1931 .7 km) of its parent thunderstorm. Hail formation requires environments of strong. Hail is possible with most thunderstorms as it is produced by cumulonimbi (thunderclouds).

Hail formation is preferred during the summer months in the afternoon and evening hours of the day Heatwaves A heat wave is prolonged period of excessively hot weather. There is no universal definition of a heat wave. fires were a major hazard to urban areas and the cause of massive amounts of damage to cities. this list is not the primary resource to refer to for the most severe wildfires. Hail is most frequently formed in the interior of continents within the midlatitudes of Earth.[1] the term is relative to the usual weather in the area. and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning Fire disaster Before the 20th century. with hail generally confined to higher elevations within the tropics." . which is summarized in the List of forest fires. Severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures. "Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. which may be accompanied by high humidity. thousands of deaths from hyperthermia. While a few of the most important wildfires or forest fires are included.[2] The term is applied both to routine weather variations and to extraordinary spells of heat which may occur only once a century.freezing level. San Francisco is gone. Temperatures that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be termed a heat wave in a cooler area if they are outside the normal climate pattern for that area.

emergency response to a disaster. Basic needs . recovery and reconstruction.assisting people earn a living to speed their recovery. waste disposal and burial of the dead. Livelihood and economy . Health – providing medical care and preventing the spread of disease through immunisation. prevention measures.procuring and distributing food.finding those who may be trapped under debris. Emergency Response When disaster strikes the first response is to save lives (humanitarian action). preparedness to cope with future disasters. such as those living in hazard-prone areas with few financial resources to help them recover if they lose their means of livelihood. Good development and community preparedness can reduce the impact of a disaster especially for the most vulnerable people. . While each disaster creates unique circumstances and the response needs to be tailored to meet the specifics of the situation the following general areas will usually form part of the response: • • • • • • Search and rescue . Assessment of needs .working out what is required. and for whom. the provision of safe water and food. in what quantities. shelter and clothing.DISASTER MANAGEMENT Disaster management is a complex series of activities that include risk assessment.understanding the roles of men and women in families and communities to identify needs and ensure the fair distribution of resources. Gender .

shelter). training people. gaining funding for long-term redevelopment and disaster preparedness. allocating and accounting for money. meeting survival needs in a culturally appropriate manner (eg. .counselling and reuniting separated families. Any emergency response needs to be coordinated to ensure the survival of the maximum possible number of victims. organisations and communities to manage development fairly.• • • • • Emotional support . limiting the effects of aid on the local economy. Disaster recovery Once the immediate danger is over. water pipelines. types of food.rebuilding roads. Logistics . and waste disposal systems. informing the. Communication . fundraising.obtaining. In the chaos of a disaster. Infrastructure . the pressure to make quick decisions and balance the specific interests of victims. electricity and telephone networks. International assistance can provide expert knowledge and resources. Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and donors may mean that best practice standards are not always achieved.transporting people and equipment. governments. Few countries have all the resources necessary to meet the demands of a large-scale disaster. prioritising the distribution of limited supplies. rather than simply responding to the current emergency situation. people may need assistance to rebuild their lives and their livelihoods. Communities may need to rebuild their social and physical infrastructure and revitalise the . Some of the issues to be considered in the disaster response include: • • • • • • respecting local knowledge while using international best practice. Finance . clothing.providing affected people with information. but survivors and people living in the area can also do much to help if they are prepared.

educating the public and rehearsing for a hazard (eg evacuation drill).for example by building houses to standards that will protect people during a hazard. developing response plans. .economy. Development Reconstruction after a disaster provides significant opportunities for improved development including: • • • planning the response and recovery to prepare for future hazards. seeds need to be distributed during the planting season and the type of temporary shelter used will depend on the climate and season. collecting and storing resources and equipment to ensure a quick response. communication networks and water and sanitation systems to withstand disasters and assist in emergency response. defining the roles and training of emergency services personnel. It takes time and money to plan and ensure that long-term redevelopment and future disaster preparedness are appropriate for everyone. building levy banks in flood prone areas and upgrading stoves to reduce the risk of fire. Damaged structures and services may not necessarily be restored in their previous locations or forms as the disruptions can be an opportunity to make improvements. taking measures to reduce the effects of a hazard . building hazard resistant public buildings and housing to reduce the impact of hazards. for example. developing early warning systems that can function without power systems. Disaster preparedness Much can be done to prepare for future disasters by: • • modifying or removing the causes of any likely hazard .for example by building houses away from hazard prone areas. upgrading infrastructure. including roads. Seasonal factors must be considered.

Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint. which contains the following principles: 1. poverty alleviation to reduce the vulnerability of those with limited resources. 4. 6. creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. For example environmental factors need to be considered when creating job opportunities so that the people do not move to hazard-prone areas such as floodplains or unstable hillsides. 2. 9. International responses In 1994 concern about standards prompted the development of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and seven NGOs to develop the Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. . 3. Ways shall be found to involve programme beneficiaries in the management of relief aid. introduction of new agricultural practices needs to avoid leading to land degradation. 8. Care must be taken to ensure that changes do not increase an area's susceptibility to disasters. expansion and modernisation of the economic base. The humanitarian imperative comes first. We shall endeavour not to act as instruments of government foreign policy. Relief aid must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to disaster as well as meeting basic needs. 5. We hold ourselves accountable to both those we seek to assist and those from whom we accept resources.• • • developing the skills of local personnel to increase their capacity to respond to an emergency. 7. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone. We shall attempt to build disaster response in local capacities. Aid is given regardless of the race. We shall respect culture and custom.

Although less than a quarter of these typhoons caused great damage. we shall recognise disaster victims as dignified human beings. However. Humans are main cause of disasters Floods brought by Typhoon Morakot in August inflicted unprecedented damage on the nation. who will save the planet? Many mountain villages were washed away by landslides in the worst-hit areas in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties. however. What do these numbers tell us? First. not hopeless objects. Taiwan. but not all of them wreak havoc on the nation. they were concentrated in the post-1990 period. Second.10. publicity and advertising activities. Senior government officials have also promised to finish post-disaster reconstruction as soon as possible. rains have become fiercer than winds and caused more damage. cannot avoid such periodic damage. . which is on the typhoon frontline and located in a seismic zone. The government and civil organizations have repeatedly collaborated on disaster rescue and relief efforts. but in recent years. we find that 666 typhoons hit Taiwan between 1897 and 1996. nearly a third of which brought rainfall of more than 2. Was the tremendous rainfall the only cause of those landslides? If we look at the Central Weather Bureau’s typhoon archives for the past 100 years.000mm. between six and seven typhoons on average hit Taiwan every year. change the fact that it will be hit by typhoons. but such fortune is scarce and unpredictable. In our information. Taiwan cannot. typhoons are bound to bring strong winds and heavy rain. I cannot help but ask: After survivors have been rescued and houses reconstructed. Sometimes typhoons may even alleviate a drought.

For the past half century. When torrential rain pours down on these rivers. the government must remain professional and not compromise as a result of public pressure. Although natural disasters are inevitable. the government still tolerates a mindset that relies on luck. man-made calamities can be mitigated. Apart from that.500km² — 29. . Even though it is well aware that typhoons are bound to cause great damage. Morakot and the flooding in August 1959 were separated by 50 years. with 21 major rivers covering a drainage area of 9. Because heavy rainfalls wear away loose soil. In light of the Morakot devastation. Deciding between survival for the moment and sustainable development has always presented humanity with a Catch 22. sturdy trees are needed to hold the soil together. shallow-rooted betel nut trees and vegetables are planted on hillsides.4 percent of the nation’s total area. I hope the government will review its policies on sustainable land development and take typhoons and earthquakes into account in its postdisaster reconstruction. yet the government’s mindset has failed to keep pace. Soil and water conservation is undoubtedly of great importance. . technology has made constant advances. how can people still be oblivious to the fact that they are the prime culprit of natural disasters. Excessive forest development aggravates soil erosion problems. With nature retaliating. flash floods sweep toward the lower reaches at extremely high speeds. Instead.Taiwan’s topology is characterized by towering mountains. yet the authorities seem to never take it seriously.

Since disasters impact every single socio-economic characteristics of a country. This book has sought to derive conclusions from empirical evidence in order to integrate disaster risk management initiatives into development objectives. This book also advocates the urgent need for country specific and regional initiatives to be integrated into cohesive disaster mangement approach with on going socio-economic development activities. it can be concluded that designing development-oriented disaster prevention measures that incorpoprate the strength of human and economic resources would be an appropriate method of ensuring effective and pragmatic sustainable development. especially in the least developed countries. In addition. . It can be seen in the preceeding chapters that human development and income levels of a country are crucial determinants for deciding upon how to effectively implement risk management approaches and post disaster management initiatives. it was found that participation by women in dynamic risk mangement process is imperative for any meaningful disaster counter measures. The obvious vulnerability of this region to geo-physical and hydro-meteorological disasters in terms of demographic. socio-economic. the increased frequency and magnitude of natural catastrophes associated with economic loss and human sufferings have considerably hindered those initiatives. and geo-physical factors justifies the need for prudent development policies and proactive risk mangement practices and also further investment for disaster reduction.Conclusion: Though developing countries in regions vulnerable to disasters received many development initiatives and investments. These generic phenomena can be seen not only in ADRC member countries but also through out Asia.