Tsunami Essay

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Tsunamis become disasters because of the human context in which they occur. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Use examples of known tsunami events recently and in the past to illustrate your arguments.

According to Wisner et al 2004, "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability,” implying that in unpopulated areas hazards can not become disasters as there is no vulnerability (Quarantelli E.L. 1998). Without humans being involved, tsunamis are nothing but giant waves; they may modify areas of uninhabited land and destroy some reefs but that does not make them disasters. Tsunamis become disasters when humans are involved; when their lives are at risk, their homes are destroyed, their livelihoods are lost etc. In addition, the economic loss caused by tsunamis could also largely effect the country as a whole. This essay will address the factors that affect the quality of human life in the 2011 Japan and 2004 South Asia tsunamis, and what made them become two of the word's biggest disasters.

Tsunamis become disasters when they result in loss of lives, injuries, and displacement of human population. In the case of South Asia and Tohoku tsunamis the coastline was densely populated leading to thousands of lives being lost as well as extensive damage to infrastructure - these were two of the greatest disasters the modern world had ever seen. The 2004 South Asia tsunami caused more than 270,000 deaths in fourteen countries across two continents (The Bolton Council of Mosques 2007-2012), whereas the Tohoku tsunami had caused approximately 20,000 deaths. This latter death toll was surprisingly high as Japan has the world's largest seismometer network, tsunami barriers and earthquake early-warning system (Cyranoski, 2011). In comparison, the Indian Ocean had no underwater warning system and therefore, the high count of human deaths in South Asia was expected. The number of casualties would have been less had Japan's early-warning system not failed,...
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