It has always been man’s consistent endeavor to prepare and build safety measures for themselves to protect themselves from the forces of nature.In prehistoric times, people lived in caves and lit fires to ward off not only marauding predators but also to protect themselves from rain, wind, heat and other calamities that might befall him.
In prehistoric times, people lived in caves and lit fires to ward off not only marauding predators but also to protect themselves from rain, wind, heat and other calamities that might befall him.
The shelter is absolutely important for man for if exposed to the harsh elements of nature he will not survive for long.
Over the centuries man has struggled to ward off natural calamities with everything at his disposal but has never really been successful in his effort.
Today, we live in an era where the world has become so advanced and technology so sophisticated and improved that with the help of satellite technology, seismic studies, computers and a lot of digital information, storm warnings, flood warnings, blizzards, cyclones and floods can be pinpointed and emergency measures are taken even before it happens.
Seismic activity studies the movements of earth’s shifting crust creating seismic waves and earthquakes are predicted accordingly .
Despite man’s tall claims that major disasters if not possible to stop it is possible to minimize the damage is merely an eyewash.
Since times immemorial man has been unable to challenge or fight the relentless fury that Mother Nature unleashes upon him from time to time.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods, violent storm, blizzards are things one can never cope with at all.
Earthquakes and the resulting Tsunamis have caused immense devastation and wreaked havoc on cities and its people
In Sumatra, Indonesia . a massive earthquake hit the seabed of the Indian ocean on December 26th, 2004 with a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale causing such a massive tsunami the after effects were felt and reached the Maldives and Thailand. It was estimated that 5 Tsunamis hit the coast of the Indian Oceans causing colossal destruction and death.
By some estimates over 225,00 people lost their lives in the calamity with 7 billion dollars worth of rescue and damage loss incurred within 10 minutes of the strike.
The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake in Pakistan struck at 08:50:39 Pakistan Standard Time on 8 October in the Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir, It was one of the worst natural disasters to hit Pakistan with over more than 1,00000 fatalities and hundreds of thousand injured or missing and centered near the city of Muzaffarabad. The quake affected other parts of Pakistan too such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Indian Jammu and Kashmir.
Many school buildings collapsed as a result of which it is estimated that 19,000 children were killed and almost 2.5 million people rendered homeless.
Emergency services were paralyzed. Infrastructure was destroyed and virtually communication was non-existent.
The Government of Pakistan was stretched to its limits and international aid agencies mobilized rescue services .
Relief supplies could not reach the affected due to treacherous mountain terrain and severely damaged roads. The Pakistan Army airlifted supplies to the remotest parts of the area. For the residents of the area, it was hell on earth.
In the capital, An apartment complex Margalla Towers collapsed and many were killed. A special British rescue team with special mechanized equipment flew in to search for survivors buried in the debris.
It can really be described as Pakistan’s worst moment.
On April 25th, 2015, Nepal witnessed one of the history’s worst earthquakes which claimed over 5000 lives and destroyed many historical sites. The devastation wreaked by the quake was quite incomprehensible to seismologists.
The latest earthquake has struck central Italy measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale with its epicenter close to Accumoli and its hypocenter at a depth of 4 ± 1 km, approximately 75 km (47 mi) southeast of Perugia 45 km north of L’Aquila .
It is estimated that 290 people have been reported to be killed .
Italy is in a state of mourning as a state funeral for 35 victims was held on Monday.
Poignant scenes were witnessed as weeping relatives hugged each other and touched the wooden coffins to try to fathom as why their town was struck.
The most heart-rending scene was the presence of two tiny coffins , that of an 18-year old baby and a 9-year-old. These children were among 21 children known to have been killed.
Even as the 35 caskets were brought to a sports hall , rescue workers were still digging through the rubble in the town of Amratice the worst affected by the quake.
Top politicians including the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella attended the funeral services. They stayed behind after the service to mingle with the mourners.
When earthquakes hit small towns or communities where everyone seems to know each other the grief pervades the entire atmosphere.
Nine more bodies were recovered from the town on Saturday, including three pulled overnight from the crumpled Hotel Roma, bringing the death toll in Amatrice alone to 230 residents and tourists.
There will, of course, be a political fallout of the disaster as many believe the government could have built earthquake proof buildings to avert such a disaster.
Renzi has promised to rebuild the shattered communities and the mayor of Amatrice urged the government to learn the lessons of painfully slow post-quake reconstructions of the past.
More than 1.350 aftershocks were felt in the aftermath of the quake according to the Italian. The Italian geological institute said more than 1,350 aftershocks had hit Italy’s central mountains since Wednesday’s pre-dawn 6.2-magnitude quake.
Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe. Almost 30 people died in earthquakes in northern Italy in 2012 and more than 300 in the city of L’Aquila in 2009.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Government has decided to build simple, wooden chalet-style huts within three months for the 2,500 people displaced by the 24 August earthquake.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi discussed reconstruction plans on Sunday with Renzo Piano, one of Italy’s most renowned architects.
The authorities face the challenge of getting survivors into safe, warm accommodation before the winter, which can get very cold in the quake-hit region of the Apennine mountains.
The homes will be built close to the damaged or destroyed homes of the people according to the Italian media.
The construction must start fast as winter is about to set in and authorities will put people up in hotels till the houses are completed.
It is very heartening to note that in developed countries the government leaves no stone unturned to alleviate the suffering of its people. Italy is one of the most developed countries of Europe and will act decisively.
Unfortunately, that is not the case as even now 11 years after the quake in Pakistan many people have not been rehabilitated.
As Italy mourns its dead the world shares its grief but the question still remains high on the agenda. How can such disasters be averted? Is it really possible to stop an earthquake from splintering the earth?
Well, sadly the answer is no. Mother nature can neither be tamed nor leashed. There are many who believe that nature balances itself in controlling the population a theory expounded in the Malthusian theory.
Whatever the cause and effect, the people who are affected by such calamities go through untold trauma, shock with feelings of helplessness and despair and it can take years before any semblance of recovery is observed.
Those who lose their entire families, hearth, and home are the worst sufferers in the world.
The world must unite in the face of natural disasters. Already the world is suffering through a crisis which is man-made like the war in Syria, the resulting refugee crisis all of which could have been avoided had saner heads prevailed.
The developed and richer countries should do more to fund research in climate change, global warming, seismic studies and finds ways and means to mitigate the affected people.
The world is already facing acute water shortage especially in the underdeveloped countries of the world .
Over time millions have suffered on account of natural disasters. Man’s greatest characteristic is that he has a natural instinct for survival as history is witness to this. Two world wars, conflicts all over the world further exacerbated by natural calamities and yet he perseveres
The Japanese and the Germans have proved that with resilience, courage and determination they can be rebuilt from the ashes of defeat.
The Japanese suffered in the Tsunami of 2011 and one of their nuclear reactors was badly damaged but being what they are they set things right within the shortest possible time. They are building earthquake proof homes in the fault line areas of the region.
There is already the potential risk that global warming will melt the polar ice caps and in 20 to 30 years countries under sea level are most likely to be submerged.
The world must act now before we all go under the sea.