07/04/2022

Natural Disasters and Types

Natural disasters are the most inevitable type of events that occurs as a result of some natural phenomenon. A catastrophic event may result in the loss of property or the degradation of the environment as well as economic disruption, the seriousness of which is determined by the endurance of the affected community and the infrastructure available.

A catastrophic event in a prone area might have severe implications and result in long-term damages that can take months or even years to restore. The devastating results have an influence on the mental wellbeing of those who are affected, often resulting in post-traumatic illnesses.

Given below are highlighted some of the most common type of natural disasters happen commonly across the world:

FLOODING

Flood is probably the major disaster that comes to mind while discussing all the natural disasters. When the water level rises from the average sea level due to any natural reason mostly heavy rainfall, this overflow of water affects the land. Floods are further categorized as following:

  • River flood is the result of raised levels of rivers when it rains heavily for too long.
  • Flash flood is the type of excessive water overflow when heavy rainfall occurs for a short span.
  • Coastal flood is the flood in which higher than usual tides occur that resulted in flood.

Some of the most significant floods in Pakistan’s history include the floods of July 2010, September 2014, and August 2020 in Karachi. The excessive rains in the year 1995 caused flooding in Indus river but it didn’t go too far to affect lives.

Also, the flood of 2003 in Sindh caused a lot of casualties resulting in both financial and loss of lives. The disaster can be prevented in a number of ways among which plantation and flood management systems are the most important ones.

  • WILDFIRES

Have you ever heard of the burning of forests? This is what wildfires exactly do! This is the most unpredictable type of natural disaster that can not be controlled.  Particularly, it impacts forests, grasslands and prairies etc. but once started, it may spread to residential areas as well.

Usually, it is thought that the wildfires are the result of natural reasons only but human activities also have some part in it. Thunder light is the major cause that can make the disaster happen. While if we talk about human activities, campfires in an uncontrollable manner while on outings or the unmaintained power lines are kind of some negligence that may ignite the event.

Dry regions of the world such as Australia etc. are more vulnerable to these fires. Some if the most highlighted events of wildfires include:

  • Wildfire in Peshtigo in the year 1871
  • Amazon forest fires in 2019-20
  • Bushfire in Australia, 2009
  • Wildfires in several areas of turkey in August 2021

Amazon forests are the most adversely affected by wildfires as it is claimed that almost 250 of total forest fires have been observed there in recent years.

  • LANDSLIDES

There are a number of events that can cause land sliding and some of them may be earthquakes and severely heavy rainfall. The disastrous event is not accurately predictable as it’s exact timings can not be determined but experts and scientists can forecast to some extent about it.

Pakistan is also included in the countries where the events of land sliding are very common. The northern areas of the country receive several landslide events on a frequent basis due to geological reasons.

  • VOLCANIC ERUPTION

Volcanoes are cracks in the crust of the earth through which hot magma, gases and ashes can flow. A volcanic eruption occurs when these elements erupt through an aperture on the planet’s surface. Following are the three main variables that induce a volcanic eruption:

  • The density of the magma
  • The compression from the compact gases in the magma
  • The insertion of a fresh slate of magma into the already loaded liquid column

Volcanoes eject highly flammable gases, ashes, lava, and rocks, all of which are extremely damaging. Volcanic eruptions are highly fatal. Additional health risks from volcanic eruptions include flooding, mudflows, power failures, contaminated drinking water, and forest fires. Opportunistic infection, respiratory illness, and traffic accidents are all issues after a volcanic explosion because of the ash’s sliding and foggy conditions.

Scientists have improved their ability to foresee eruptions, but this is still not an acquired skill. They will frequently be aware that a volcano is on the verge of erupting, but determining the precise moment of an eruption is really beyond our recent technical strengths.

  • EARTHQUAKE

Subsequent, and sometimes much more devastating natural calamities can occur as a result of certain earthquakes. Tsunamis can be caused by seismic events, as seen in Tohoku, a massive earthquake in Japan in 2011, which induced tsunami waves estimated to be up to a height of 40 meters.

Among all the events of natural disasters in the history of Pakistan, the Earthquake in October, 2005 is reported to be the most drastic one. It caused physical destruction on a massive scale and took away the lives of large number of people. Another most prominent event of Earthquake include Badakhshan incident with a magnitude of 7.5. Around 3000 casualties were reported then.

In the district of Awaran, Balochistan, an Earthquake of 2013 occurred. Same unfortunate incident was happened in KPK in 1974. It was a notable one that caused a lot of people to be injured severely with over 5000 deaths being reported.

  • TORNADOES

It is a condition in which a storm of air moving in spinning motion occurs that seems starting from ground and ended up at heights in cumulus clouds. Occurring in the seasons when thunderstorms are common the disaster is considered to be the most aggressive ones among all the natural disasters.

The winds in them have extremely high pressure and they are so violent that casualties may occur on severely large scales in no time. Middle latitudes of the planet Earth are the most vulnerable regions to thi disaster because storms occur their often.

Almost every continent of the world has faced the disaster of tornadoes but if we talk about Pakistan, they are not so common here. Even if they occur, the intensity of them is too low to pose any serious consequences. The time period of such storms called tornadoes may vary ranging from some seconds to more than hour depending upon their intensity.

  • DROUGHT

It is a disaster in which water becomes short in any area due to the inadequate precipitation as a result of climatic issues for a specific time.

Drought may be categorized in the four classes as;

  • Hydrological drought: Due to the prolonged meteorological drought, waterbodies such as oceans, rivers etc started facing the lack of water and this type of water shortage is termed as hydrological drought.
  • Agricultural drought: In it, the agricultural lands face the impact of water shortage resulting in low crops yield.
  • Socioeconomic drought: As a response of a climate deficit in waterways, socioeconomic drought develops when need for an economic good outnumbers availability.
  • Meteorological drought: In it the concerned areas become vulnerable to dry weather conditions.

Drought is known to be one of the most common and problematic natural disaster happening n Pakistan. This is also the major reason of poverty and lack of resources in the country. We are facing this severe issue since around 1970s and the incident of drought in 1998 was probably the worst one.

The altered patterns of rainfalls in the monsoon season are the most notable cause of drought in the country. Due to variation in them, some areas have to face severe dryness across the year as they receive no rainfall resulting is drought conditions.

All the catastrophes listed above are natural and inevitable ones. Infrastructures and architecture can be made better to avoid or minimize the losses during these calamities. It is hard to prevent them once they have started but still many actionable measures can be taken to avoid them on both public and government level.