Disaster – what does this word mean? What are the types of disasters and which of them are more or less terrible? First, it is worth mentioning, that a disaster is always a big loss and there is no matter how big are those losses – they are equally hard. The disasters are natural and anthropogenic. Both can be extensive (a hurricane, a war, a flood) and single (a crime, an arson). The example of an extensive natural disaster is the Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive hurricanes in the United States.
The Hurricane Katrina affected deeply New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2005. The state had the biggest losses of human lives. Corpses were everywhere; that is why a single murder on the street was not so strange later, after the hurricane ended. “That a corpse lies on Union Street may not shock; in the wake of last week's hurricane, there are surely hundreds, probably thousands. What is remarkable is that on a downtown street in a major American city, a corpse can decompose for days, like carrion, and that is acceptable” (Barry, 2005). It was terrible time for every one. People who stayed alive were “numb with post-traumatic shock” (Barry, 2005). Nevertheless, in comparison with war was it really so disastrous?
Some people can argue that human-made disasters are much harder than natural. In some ways they are right – nature gives lives and takes them back sometimes. In spite of this, in many cases, natural disasters may be prognosticated with the help of modern technologies, and national authority may often prevent big losses. Of course, they can not prevent the disaster, but they can inform citizens and provide shelters from the catastrophe. At the same time, how do people feel about terroristic attacks?
Anyone may fall victim to terrorists, and such sacrifice will be preposterous. Relatives of the victims will always denounce the murderers and desire revenge. It may provoke further negative actions and consequences. In comparison, after a natural cataclysm, there will be no one to take vengeance on, the effects will be transient, and the life will go on. However, a great number of natural disasters has destructive aftermath. For example, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 ruined thousands of buildings and killed hundreds thousands of people. Two years passed and there are still homeless people, tents on the streets, destroyed houses and suffering residents. Citizens of Haiti are angry and tired; they blame authorities for doing nothing.
Whatever people might think or say, they feel differently about the natural disasters. In Japan, for example, the citizens used to cope with anniversary earthquakes. At the same time, they still can not forget the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It was the first atomic bomb used as a weapon. Everything what is made by people can not be forgiven and forgotten so quickly.
On the other hand, some natural catastrophes are the results of human activities. Using of natural resources, electrical energy, exploitation of water storage – all these may provoke great changes in nature. Thereafter, various cataclysms appear.
Terrorism is systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal. It may be partly extirpated but natural disasters may not. Nature has no goal but people have. For this reason, the act of terroristic attack or a war is a display of cruelty, and a natural catastrophe is just a change in nature. Some people like wars, they are adherents of killings but it is doubtful whether they are fond of cataclysms. Wars and terroristic attacks do not start from nothing; they always have causes and aims. Natural disasters start suddenly and without reasons. These are the main contrasts between the two types of catastrophes.
In what cases is it easier to reconcile the losses of lives and other losses – in the case of a disaster or a war? It is difficult to say for sure because every loss is very hard to accept. However, as stated above, natural disasters have no one to blame for; they just happen and after it, the life moves on. One can make a conclusion that losses of war or terroristic attacks are much harder to reconcile. People who lost their families, friends and homes in wartime will always blame someone for it. In the case of natural disasters, humans may blame authorities for the tardy disposal of aftermaths or for unorganized work but not for the catastrophe itself.
According to the statistics, well-developed countries “are better able to afford the investments needed for prevention and preparedness” (Wijkman, 2005). Thereafter, they overcome impacts much more easily and quickly than developing and poor countries.
Summing up the above-stated, it is worth saying that no one can feel secured against natural disasters and terroristic attacks both, but the authorities of the countries may prevent many wars. People can also help to minimize the risks of natural disasters such as global warming, and to reduce the consequences. “Most important are activities at the community level, such as urban planning, safer construction, environmental management, early warning systems and training of local populations” (Wijkman, 2005).
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The nature is changeable, the humanity is inconstant but people should appreciate every moment of their lives because it is too short. “You're able to see the stars...It's wonderful” (Barry, 2005). This message has to do with every one because no one knows what will happen some of these days. When the disaster occurs, people should help and support each other. Friendliness and mutual aid are the most important things in difficult situations; with their help, people will survive and endure all hard losses.
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