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In Osaka, Japan, there was an earthquake on 18 June 2018, a little before 8:00. Aftershocks continued for a week afterwards. This 5.5 magnitude earthquake was caused by stain on three fault lines under the area. More than 6,000 buildings were damaged, the trains were stopped multiple times, and over 460 people were living in public shelters. Four people were killed, and 417 people were injured.
Japan faces many earthquakes, and they do well with mitigations. However, there were several buildings, including the school where a young girl was killed, that were not up to code. While it is important to make building codes in the first place, we need to remember that it is even more important to enforce them. The mayor says that the government will help people recover from this disaster, which is very important. People need to know that their government will protect them.
In Kermanshah, Iran, there was an earthquake on 22 July, 2018, a little after 10:00. This earthquake was actually part of a series of earthquakes, occurring several hours beforehand. This 5.9 earthquake was caused by many fault lines under the country. Walls collapsed and houses were damaged. 287 people were injured, but deaths have not yet been reported.
Just last year, 620 people were killed in this same area. It’s important to realize that natural disasters follow patterns- it is likely that they are going to hit the same location multiple times. We now know that it is likely for earthquakes to happen in this area. Since buildings have collapsed in these events, new building regulations should be made and enforced.
Volcán de Fuego:
In Guatemala, near Guatemala City, there was a volcanic eruption on 3 June 2018, with more eruptions following on the 8th and 9th. This volcano is very active, one of the most active in the world. Its eruption involved lahars, volcanic ash, and pyroclastic flows. It buried many villages and cut off roads. 3,100 people evacuated. At least 112 people have died, and 197 people are missing. Many suspect that the numbers are much higher.
The president, Jimmy Morales, has ordered three days of mourning. Fortunately, there are a large number of organizations that have stepped forward to help. Guatemala cannot recover from such a devastating disaster by themselves, so it’s important for countries to be able to reach out to one another when they cannot recover alone.
In Hawai’i, there has been a volcanic eruption continuing since 3 May 2018. This eruption may be a continuation of an eruption in 1983. 2,000 people have evacuated, power supply has been damaged, and roads have been blocked. No deaths or serious injuries have occurred.
I do not believe there is much more that could have been done. Many buildings were damaged, but people stayed safe. Helicopters were waiting to evacuate people, and people were smart about staying away from the volcano. This volcano will continue to erupt, and hopefully, people will continue to stay safe, even if property is damaged.
In southwest Japan, there has been a flood, from June to July. This event was caused by heavy rain. In total, damage adds up to around ¥745.16 billion. 225 people have been killed.
Unfortunately, many people ignored warnings to leave. It’s important for people to learn about how dangerous natural disasters are, so that they will be willing to be safe.
All across Vietnam, there have been floods, starting on 23 June and continuing until today. These floods have been caused by heavy rain. The total cost comes to around VND 530 billion. Over 5,000 homes have been ruined by the floods. 27 people have been killed, with 24 injured.
I think one of the most important things to learn from this disaster is that it’s better to make mitigations sooner. This country is very prone to sudden flash floods. However, they continue on as they always have, never making mitigations. If they made mitigations this time, then they will be better prepared next time. Many of the houses swept away were silt houses, which do not stand very well against floods.
The floods in Japan, lasting from June to July, have created landslides. The landslides were caused by loosening of the earth by rain and the earlier earthquake. A small number the deaths and damage attributed to the flood are actually caused by the landslides.
It’s important to be willing to take mitigations early. When people were told to evacuate before the flood, they should have taken that opportunity. By the time that the landslides began, damage had already been done, and it was too late to leave easily.
In Panjshir, Afghanistan, there was a landslide on 11 July 2018, late at night. After snowcaps on the mountains melted, the water flooded into a lake, causing a landslide. Almost 300 homes have been destroyed. At least ten people have died.
One of the amazing things about this disaster was that the people in the area were aware of the likelihood of a landslide. Since they were all aware of the danger, they were prepared to run to higher ground. Several people used signals (like firing weapons into the air) to warn their neighbors. Without having discussed it beforehand, these signals would not have been understood. Even though people were killed, this disaster could’ve been much worse.
Hurricane Beryl went through the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic forming on 2 July 2018 and dissipated on 16 July 2018. It started off as a small tropical wave and strengthened. There was not much damage in the Lesser Antilles, just broken power lines and a small amount of flooding. In Puerto Rico, 24,000 people lost power and several roads were flooded. In the Dominican Republic, 130,000 people and the capital were without power. 1,590 homes were destroyed or damaged. 8,000 people did not have clean drinking water.
Fortunately, both the French and Puerto Rican governments issued watches and emergency warnings for the storm. They were better prepared than the Dominican Republic. It’s important to remember mitigations and preparedness are for before the disaster occurs. Being prepared makes a big difference.
Subtropical Storm Alberto:
Subtropical Storm Alberto started over the Yucatán Peninsula on 25 May 2018 and dissipated in Michigan on 31 May. This storm started as an area of low pressure and strengthened into a sub-tropical storm. This storm was unusual because it continued on for such a long distance, thanks to a brown ocean effect. The current cost estimate is $125 million. Eleven people died.
Once again, there were a number of emergency warnings, allowing people to evacuate from the area. Oil companies realized the danger and shut down in areas that the hurricane might hit. That mitigation kept the number of deaths so low.
In the UK, wildfires have been raging since 24 June 2018, and continue on. This was caused by a heatwave and a lack of rain. It is made much more difficult to put out, because the fire is burning peat, which can smoulder underground. The main cost is the firefighters and military to put out the fire fighters. There have been no deaths.
The UK has acknowledged that wildfires are one of their greatest hazards. Since this disaster has been ongoing for a while, they are able to use their successes to build a better system for the future. The government is discussing bringing the military into putting out fires more often, and how to equip them.
In the west coast of the United States, there have been a wildfires ranging since last year. These wildfires are caused by high temperatures and droughts. This year, more than 3.6 million acres have been burned, and many have had to evacuate.
Unfortunately, the wildfires show no sign of stopping. Experts in fire hazards suggest using controlled fires to help lessen the effect of wildfires. People are a little nervous about having these fires, but it is better to run the slight risk of a small, safe fire than to have a large and dangerous wildfire.
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