Natural Disasters

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  • by Anup Shah
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Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods can often come at the least expected time. Others, such as hurricanes and cyclones are increasing in severity and destruction. Typically, the poor are the worst hit for they have the least resources to cope and rebuild. This part of the web site looks at some of these issues.

Please note that this section is not an up-to-date news source as natural disaster events unfold. I do not have the capacity of massive news organizations to keep such items frequently updated. Instead, this section attempts to provide some additional perspectives and context regarding major natural disasters which are either global in scope, or are related to other global issues.

6 articles on “Natural Disasters” and 2 related issues:

Media and Natural Disasters

Media coverage of natural disasters seems to vary a lot depending on the disaster. Is it selective? Why do some regions get more attention than others? Even when millions have died in a region from conflict and war, how is it that a disaster that claims less in lives — sometimes in the same area, as in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo — will bring in media interest and coverage? 2005 has recently seen a number of disasters and relief efforts, from the Asian tsunami, to the severe hurricanes and storms in the Caribbean, the earthquake in South Asia (Pakistan and India), and drought in parts of Africa. How has the media covered these?

Read “Media and Natural Disasters” to learn more.

Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis

The earthquake off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was one of the biggest recorded, measuring 9 on the richter scale.

It was the resulting tsunami, however, that caused the most destruction. It devastated the northeast of Japan, leaving many thousands dead or missing, and hundreds of thousands homeless or evacuated from the area.

In addition, various power generators failed. Some older nuclear power stations risked meltdown and suffered explosions and radioactive leaks. Workers have battled for weeks to try and bring the situation under control. Radioactive material has been detected in various places.

It is thought that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami could be over $300 billion — the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record.

There are global economic repercussions as well, given Japan’s key position in the world economy.

There are so many issues that this tragic event has caused. This page presents news coverage from Inter Press Service on many of these inter-related issues.

Read “Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis” to learn more.

Hurricane Katrina

What is the most damaging hurricane in US history, in its wake hurricane Katrina has also left other issues, from the handling of the disaster, to the media reporting, and rebuilding issues.

Read “Hurricane Katrina” to learn more.

Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

Boxing day, 2004, one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history (measuring 9 on the Richter Scale), struck just off Sumatra, Indonesia, in a fault line running under the sea. The rupture caused massive waves, or tsunamis, that hurtled away from the epicenter, reaching shores as far away as Africa. At least 230,000 people were killed and the livelihoods of millions were destroyed in over 10 countries. This has been one of the biggest natural disasters in recent human history.

Read “Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster” to learn more.

Third World Debt and Disaster Recovery

When poor countries face natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and fires, the cost of rebuilding becomes even more of an issue when they are already burdened with debt. Often, poor countries suffer with many lost lives and/or livelihoods. Aid and disaster relief often does come in from international relief organizations, rich countries and international institutions, but sometimes poor countries are still paying millions of dollars a week back in the form of debt repayment.

Read “Third World Debt and Disaster Recovery” to learn more.

Natural Disasters Links for More Information

This section lists various sites and organizations that provide more information or news on disasters as they unfold, or on disaster relief and recovery.

Read “Natural Disasters Links for More Information” to learn more.

Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are also a major global issue. Humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways. This section introduces other issues including biodiversity, climate change, animal and nature conservation, population, genetically modified food, sustainable development, and more.

Read “Environmental Issues” to learn more.


There are numerous forms of aid, from humanitarian emergency assistance, to longer term development aid. Some provide food aid, or military assistance, but all these forms of aid seem to be accompanied with criticism, either around inefficiency of delivery, or of political agendas or more. This section attempts to look at some of these issues.

Read “Aid” to learn more.

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  • by Anup Shah
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