Archive for the ‘Natural Disasters’ Category

Haiti Earthquake 2010

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 M earthquake centered approximately 25 kilometers (16 mi) from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, which struck at 16:53:09 local time (21:53:09 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 13 kilometers (8.1 mi). The United States Geological Survey recorded a series of aftershocks, fourteen of them between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9. The International Red Cross estimates that there have been as many as three million people affected by the quake, and an estimated 45–50,000 deaths.

Most of Port-au-Prince’s major landmarks were significantly damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, including the Presidential Palace (though the President survived), the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. All hospitals were destroyed or so badly damaged that they have been abandoned. The United Nations reported that headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, collapsed and that a large number of UN personnel were unaccounted for. The Mission’s Chief, Hédi Annabi, was confirmed dead on 13 January by President René Préval.

Appeals for international aid have been issued, including from Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States and his nephew, singer Wyclef Jean, also a “roving ambassador” for Haiti.

Several countries have responded to the appeals. The neighboring Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid to Haiti, easing tensions that have been growing between the two countries since the 19th century. British charities have launched a massive fund raising effort.

The U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 73rd Infantry from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has been scheduled to deploy on 15 January 2010 along with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The U.S. Navy also announced on 13 January 2010 that the hospital ship Comfort and amphibious helicopter carrier Bataan will be deployed to assist in the humanitarian relief efforts. On January 14 2010, the US Government announced a large relief fund effort for Haiti. The US president, Barack Obama, said America would give $100m to the aid effort for the stricken Caribbean country and pledged that the people of Haiti “will not be forgotten”.

The International Red Cross has announced that it has run out of supplies in Haiti and has appealed for public donations. Giving Children Hope has been working to get much-needed medicines and supplies on the ground.

Israel sent medical teams with supplies to Haiti. The Israelis will attempt to help at least 500 patients each day.

Partners in Health is the largest health care provider in rural Haiti; it oversees some 10 hospitals and clinics, all far from the capital and all still intact. PIH is currently serving the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince.

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2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season

tropical storm allison

Tropical Storm Allison was a tropical storm that devastated southeast Texas in June of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. The first storm of the season, Allison lasted unusually long for a June storm, remaining tropical or subtropical for 15 days.

The storm developed from a tropical wave in the northern Gulf of Mexico on June 4, 2001, and struck the upper Texas coast shortly thereafter. It drifted northward through the state, turned back to the south, and re-entered the Gulf of Mexico. The storm continued to the east-northeast, made landfall on Louisiana, then moved across the southeast United States and Mid-Atlantic. Allison was the first storm since Tropical Storm Frances in 1998 to strike the northern Texas coastline. The storm dropped heavy rainfall along its path, peaking at over 40 inches (1,000 mm) in Texas.

The worst flooding occurred in Houston, where most of Allison’s damage occurred: 30,000 became homeless after the storm flooded over 70,000 houses and destroyed 2,744 homes. Downtown Houston was inundated with flooding, causing severe damage to hospitals and businesses. Twenty-three people died in Texas.

tropical storm allison damage

Throughout its entire path, Allison caused $6.7 billion (2008 USD) in damage and 41 deaths. Aside from Texas, the places worst hit were Louisiana and southeastern Pennsylvania. Following the storm, President George W. Bush designated 75 counties along Allison’s path as disaster areas (the first time he had to do so), which enabled the citizens affected to apply for aid. Allison is the only tropical storm to have its name retired without ever having reached hurricane strength.

 

Mozambique Catastrophic Flooding

The 2000 Mozambique flood was a natural disaster that occurred in February and March 2000. The catastrophic flooding was caused by heavy rainfall that lasted for five weeks and made many homeless. Approximately 800 people were killed. 1,400 km² of arable land was affected and 20,000 head of cattle were lost. It was the worst flood in the Mozambique in 50 years.

 

2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on December 26, 2004, with an epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is known by the scientific community as the Great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, and the following tsunami is known as the Asian Tsunami or the Boxing Day Tsunami.

The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunami along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were hardest hit.

With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 cm (0.5 inches) and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $7 billion (2004 U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid.

 

2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall.

Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 storm on the morning of Monday, August 29 in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge.

The most severe loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. The federal flood protection system in New Orleans failed at more than fifty places. Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans was breached as Hurricane Katrina passed just east of the city limits. Eventually 80% of the city became flooded and also large tracts of neighboring parishes, and the flood waters lingered for weeks.

At least 1,836 people lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history. The levee failures prompted investigations of their design and construction which belongs solely to the US Army Corps of Engineers as mandated in the Flood Control Act of 1965.

There was also an investigation of the responses from federal, state and local governments, resulting in the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown. Conversely, the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service were widely commended for accurate forecasts and abundant lead time.

Three years later, thousands of displaced residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were still living in trailers.