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Lower Secondary English essays

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Natural disasters around the world
 
A disaster as defined by the Grolier Encyclopaedia is a `sudden, extremely unfortunate event that affects many people'. Basically, there are two kinds of disasters. The first kind are the natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes, floods and tsunamies. The second type is man-made when Man interacts with nature with horrific consequences. For the purpose of this essay, I shall deal with the first type and look into the what, where, when, why of the subject and who are affected by it.

Natural disasters can occur in the form of earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic explosions, hurricanes and others. They are the natural forces of mother nature let loose in her unbridled fury. Much widespread destruction and damage are inflicted on the landscape. Misery is brought down on the people who become injured or lose their loved ones.

Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of tectonic plates underground. They are measured by a standard called the Richter Scale. Usually, tremors precede a major quake and are enough to send alarm bells ringing. In December 2004, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people in Indian Ocean coastal communities. More recently, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 triggered powerful tsunami waves caused 15,883 deaths, 6,149 injured, and 2,652 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 129,225 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 254,204 buildings half collapsed, and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged, hence known as the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan after the end of World War II.

Meanwhile, a harder task awaits governments in persuading people who live in the path of volcanic and hurricane activity to take precautions or move elsewhere. The land around volcanoes are coveted for volcanic deposits known to produce rich agricultural lands. In the United States, hurricanes sometimes sweep across farmland which farmers have cultivated for centuries. America and Hong Kong have systems for warning about destructive winds and have shelters for people whose residences lie in their destructive path. However, in the case of a poor country like Indonesia, the government has limited capacities for prevention and education. The poor Javanese who tend to the fertile soils around volcanoes put their fates with the gods.

Sometimes, Man has a part to play in triggering off disasters. Floods and landslides may be caused by Man's abuse of his environment. These are known as man-made disasters. Many disasters like earthquakes are just the unleashing of blind natural forces. To adopt a philosophical note, one can just reflect on the fact that we live in a world where man cannot claim he has total dominion over nature. The fury of winds, rains and seismic forces are beyond his control. Man-made disasters like the nuclear leakage at Cherbonyl, Russia, may start preventive measures after investigation of tragedies, but natural disasters often are within the realm of nature's destructive whims.

There will always be good people, charitable organisations and governments who will help in relief efforts in the wake of disasters. Medicine, temporary housing and funds will be offered. The light of man's humanity shines out in these cases. Nature wills, but men can try their best to prevent and alleviate the suffering.

     
unbridled   uncontrolled
     
prefectures   regions
     
dominion   authority
 
 

 

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Lower secondary English essays 1

 
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