Emergency Preparedness and the Largest Disasters of the Past Decade

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you probably know that the first 10 years of this century witnessed some of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded. The size and scale of these events affected densely populated areas all around the world and caused massive environmental, financial and human loss. The increasing severity of disasters has prompted many people to start taking emergency preparedness more seriously. While the scope and timing of these events are beyond control, being well equipped with a survival kit, emergency food and water storage will be undoubtedly helpful in the aftermath of almost any disaster. Here is a look back at five of the most prominent disasters from the past decade:Gujarat Earthquake: January 26, 2001The 7.7 quake occurred at 8:46 in the morning on India’s Republic Day (equivalent to the 4th of July here in the US), and shook this densely populated state killing nearly 200,000 people, injuring approximately 167,000 others and displacing around 400,000. The total in damages was estimated to be roughly $5.5 billion.Indian Ocean Tsunami: December 26, 2004An earthquake that registered 9.1 on the Richter scale (the largest in 40 years) triggered this massive tsunami that reportedly produced waves 100 feet high, hammering the coastlines of 11 countries from Indonesia to East Africa. An estimated 230,000 people were killed, another 45,000 were reported missing, and more than 1.5 million were displaced as a result of the destruction. The total financial loss is estimated to be roughly $4.8 billion.Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005Making landfall around 6:10 am as a Category 3 Hurricane, Katrina was the most destructive storm in US history. It raged north through Mississippi and Louisiana leaving a massive trail of destruction and massive flooding. New Orleans was hardest hit, and roughly 80% of the city was submerged in floodwater. The storm killed approximately 1,800 people, displaced around 770,000 others and caused close to $100 billion in damage.Sichuan, China Earthquake: May 12, 2008The power of this 8.0 magnitude quake was felt as far away as Shanghai, over 1,000 miles from the epicenter. Chinese officials noted 69,180 confirmed deaths and more than 18,00 people reported missing, while high estimates indicated up to 11 million people had been displaced. Several months after the disaster the Chinese government announced it would spend $146 billion over three years to rebuild the shattered areas.Haiti Earthquake: January 12, 2010As one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, the catastrophic images that came after this 7.0 magnitude quake are some of the most vivid in recent memory, and the quake struck the most populated area in the country. Haitian authorities estimated over 300,000 deaths and over one million people left homeless, alongside damage that is believed to be near $14 billion.
—Jared Matkin—Jared Matkin is a Salt Lake City based freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast who is continually on the lookout for innovative and usable products designed to help improve the way we live.

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