Around the world there were approximately 394 natural disasters that occurred in 2018. An event is categorized as a natural disaster if it kills 10 or more people or leaves at least 100 people injured, homeless, displaced or evacuated else if a country declares it a natural disaster or if requires the country to make a call for international assistance. These natural disasters are dangerous, and leave numerous communities crippled due to death, homelessness, disease, loss of food and clean water, and the inability to work. The countries with the highest incident of natural disasters are Japan, China, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. These countries are most vulnerable to storms, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, and many other disasters. New Orleans is the only US city in the top 50 most vulnerable cities, however, eight of the top 10 most at-risk cities are in the Philippines.
Natural disasters occur for many reasons including: the movement of the earths crustal plates trigger earthquakes and tsunamis, lightning strikes causing fires that engulf thousands upon thousands of acres of forest, storms that cause huge swells in the ocean that bring tremendous amounts of water on land causing floods, little to no rain causing drought and famine, volcanoes erupting spewing lava and plumes of ash, and the destructive winds of hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, and monsoons. The entire world has seen some catastrophic events over the years and it seems like to storms are increasing with intensity and frequency.
Scientists believe hydro-meteorological disasters are due to a combination of natural and man-made factors. The warming of the earth’s oceans and atmosphere are leading to more intense storms of all types. According to World Bank, more than 160 countries have more than a quarter of their populations in areas of high mortality risks from one or more natural disasters. Taiwan is most vulnerable to natural disasters on earth with 73% of it’s land and population exposed to three or more threats.
In the past five years, there have been many natural disasters plaguing countries around the world including the US, Indonesia, Ecuador, Nepal, and Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.
2015: Nepal had a massive 7.8 earthquake killing more than 8,800 people. It destroyed almost 900,000 buildings, created avalanches in the Himalayas, and left 1 million children out of school. The aftershocks that followed slowed the recovery efforts and added to the devastation.
2016: Ecuador was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killing 663 people. Nearly 7,000 buildings were destroyed, and more than 25,000 people were living in shelters.
2017: Puerto Rico was many of several islands hit by a category 5 hurricane “Maria.” The eye of hurricane Maria hit the eastern side of the island and once she was done inflicting her rage, she left Puerto Rico in shambles. After Maria, Puerto Rico struggled with basic needs such as water, food, housing, and electricity for these US citizens. Approximately 3,000 people lost their lives and Puerto Rico sustained tens of billions of dollars in damages due to Maria and reduced the GDP by 8 percent.
2018: Indonesia was struck by a tsunami that affected the coastal towns along the Sunda strait between Java and Sumatra. The tsunami is believed to be caused by undersea landslides from the Anak Krakatau volcano killing more than 430 people.
2019: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi were hit by cyclone Idai so far killing 557 (still rising) people across the three nations. The cyclone has caused some 1.7 million people to be affected across southern Africa. No electricity, no running water, homes swept away, and roads destroyed by the floods. There is a growing concern of cholera and malaria due to stagnant water, decomposing bodies, lack of good hygiene and sanitation.
Cyclone Idai survivors need immediate assistance. You may donate to any organization who has boots on the ground to help with the devastation, however, you can also donate to the International Rescue Committee who helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and regain control of their future. Eighty-nine cents of every dollar they spend worldwide goes directly to help refugees and others in desperate need. Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. Oxfam’s approach is about tackling the conditions that cause poverty in the first place, rather than the distribution of material goods. 75.7% of Oxfam’s donations go to program services, 16.6% fundraising, and 7.7% management and general purposes.
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