Natural or Man Made Disasters.
Mother Nature has her way of re-establishing a certain status quo with what Mankind calls "Natural Disasters", and from Man's point of view they are disasters, however Mother Nature has been at it for over 4 billion years now, call it "Evolution", so when a flash flood or a tsunami washes away the settlements people build in dried-out riverbeds or on waterfronts, once mangrove swamps, again and again, it makes you wonder if we do it on purpose to ignore past experiences. Is our collective memory so short or is it simply that we are so arrogant that we think we have the technical know-how to combat such phenomena?
Why build settlements in river beds in Santa Domingo and then lament the death of victims when the next flash flood occurs. Why build muddy hillside clinging Favelas in Rio that get washed away every time it rains, why build villages under the water level of the Ganges in Bangladesh or on the island of Phuket in Thailand? Is it because they have always lived there and have no where else to go? Always? And just how long is always?
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry
Those are 03rd World examples, where you could argue that poverty obliges the inhabitants to live where they do but the problem exists in Europe, for example in the Alps. Trees, once acting a barriers against avalanches have been cleared away to make way for skiers. Conclusion, where trees once acted as natural barriers, village destroying avalanches now have a clear path down to once naturally protected villages. Flash floods in France and Italy are more and more frequent because housing estates or camping sites were allowed to be built in flood risk zones and well, as we all know, with climate change such phenomena are going to happen more and more often. In Italy, whole towns and villages are destroyed because building authorities or constructors ignored the dangers of earthquakes. The list is long and the reasons are always the same. Man ignored and flouted Nature.
As if that wasn't enough, human activity is another cause of natural disasters and calamities. In an effort to understand severe natural climatic or geological hazards certain countries now have the technology to re-create calamities such as hurricanes or earthquakes.
Conspiracy theorists claim that the Dec 26th 2004 earthquake was a man-made simulation gone wrong. One of the "Usual Supsect" countries was trying to artificially re-create an earthquake. Theorists give this a certain credibility, because as although on the Western rim of the "Ring of fire"* the Indonesian Island of Sumatra has itself never experience an earthquake of such a magnitude. In fact, one of the reasons why the Indian Ocean doesn't have a protection system, as exists in the Pacific Ocean, is because the seismic activity in the Indian Ocean is supposed to be minimal, verging on the non-existent.
* As Indonesia is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" The Japanese PTWS centre duly registered the seismic activity off Sumatra before the quake actually occurred. The only problem was that they had no pre-established contact in or around the Indian Ocean basin to warn of the forthcoming disaster.
Other artificial sources of Tsunamis can be attributed to undersea drilling that may accidentally trigger seismic activity or underwater nuclear testing such as the French nuclear testings in the South Pacific before they were "Officially" stopped in the mid-1990s.
© N.Richards 11/2004 & 11/2011