Natural disasters refer to a key or major event as a result of the Earth’s natural processes. Some examples of include tornadoes, floods, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes among other geological processes. Natural disasters can lead to loss of lives and extensive damage to property and always leaves huge economic damage, and the severity would depend on resilience and ability of the affected people to recover. Data indicates that there were several events categorized as natural disasters in 2018 ranging from wildfires to earthquakes. As a result of the disasters, a large number of people lost their lives and property worth millions of dollars were destroyed. In 2018, the natural disasters affected various nations such as the United States, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines among others.
The California Wildfires
In 2018, California experienced some of the most devastating wildfires in its history. Data indicates that there were more than 8,000 wildfires within California's boundaries. The fires burned an extensive area with some estimates indicating that it burned an area of close to 3,000 square miles. Research from two of the leading US’s fire agencies, the National Interagency Fire Center as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, indicates that the 2018 fires affected more extensive areas than any other fire in the state's history. The two agencies also estimated that the monetary damage caused by the fires exceeded $3.5 billion. Close to $2 billion of the money estimated by the two organizations was utilized for fire suppression.
In 2018, Greece was also the victim of a massive wildfire. The fires started in the Attica region and were dubbed the 2018 Attica wildfires. The fires began during a heat wave that affected sections of the European continent during the summer and spring seasons. According to Greek media outlets, by mid-September, close to 100 people had died because of the wildfires, and the inferno has earned the distinction of being the second most destructive wildfire that occurred within the 21st century. To combat the wildfires, the government of Greece had to use more than 200 fire trucks as well as all the fire-fighting airplanes that it owned. The Greek government also had to move people from areas that were at risk from the fires. The government estimated that more than 700 people had to be moved from different regions. The fires were exceptionally destructive as they destroyed thousands of cars and houses. Medical records indicate that the youngest casualty of the Greek wildfires was a roughly six-month-old infant while the oldest victim was more than 90 years old.
The Sulawesi Earthquake
One of the most destructive earthquakes in 2018 occurred in Indonesia in a region of Sulawesi. Seismographic data indicates that the Sulawesi earthquake had a magnitude of 7.5. Before the Sulawesi earthquake struck, it was preceded by a number of foreshocks with the magnitude of the larger one being 6.1. A couple of hours after the earthquake struck Sulawesi; a tsunami affected the region of Palu. Although the Indonesian government had issued a tsunami warning, most of the people in the region ignored it and contributed to a large number of fatalities. The Indonesian government estimated that more than 2,000 people lost their lives as a result of the combined effects of the tsunami and the earthquake.
The Pakistan Heat Wave
Another of the major disasters in 2018 was a heat wave that struck the nation of Pakistan. According to reports from the Guardian, the heat wave was part of a more larger heat wave that afflicted nations in the southern portion of Asia. The report indicated that in the city of Karachi more than 60 died because of the heat wave. According to Pakistani media sources, more than 100 people could have died because of the incident. The Pakistani government did not confirm the death toll of the heat wave.
Nigeria was one of the victims of the worst natural disasters in 2018, floods that resulted in the death of more than 100 people all around the nation. Apart from the high death toll, the Nigerian floods also resulted in thousands of people being displaced from their homes. The Nigerian floods occurred as a result of the Niger and the Benue Rivers, the two most important rivers in the nation, bursting their banks. One of the most damaged areas was Lokoja. In response to the massive floods, the Nigerian government set aside $8.2 million and declared it a national disaster. The Nigerian government considered the 2018 flood to be one of the most devastating floods in recent memory. Some of the factors that were cited for making the floods more destructive than they usually were included poor urban planning and climate change.
In 2018, the nation of Japan was also a victim of floods particularly in the southwestern section of the country. According to official records from the Japanese government, the floods affected more than 20 prefectures, and more than 220 people lost their lives. A large number of Japanese people were advised to evacuate from regions facing significant risk from the floods. The rescue efforts by the Japanese government included more than 50,000 people drawn from a number of fields such as firefighters, the Japan Self-Defense Forces as well as the several police departments.
India was another region that was significantly affected by natural disasters in 2018. According to a report from the Atlantic, the State of Kerala was the worst hit by 2018 floods. The report also indicated that more than 400 people lost their lives as a result of the floods and close to a million had to flee their homes. The Indian government and several aid agencies set up close to 4,000 camps where affected people could get relief. According to the report, the floods in Kerala were the worst the state had experienced in more than 100 years.
Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala
The worst natural disaster in 2018 to hit the Central American nation of Guatemala was experienced when the Volcán de Fuego erupted. According to the Guatemalan government, the eruption led to the death of close to 200 people. The Guatemalan government took several measures to keep the residents safe such as advising them to evacuate areas at risk from the eruption.
The Impact of Climate Change on Natural Disasters
According to several scientists, climate change has a massive impact on the magnitude of natural disasters that affect the world. The disasters that are affected by climate change include heat waves and floods. The scientists believe that if climate change is not addressed, the natural disasters could be even worse.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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