I grew up in Anchorage, so I chose to investigate their emergency plan. It was extremely easy to find Anchorage’s Emergency Management page (located here) – simply by googling “Anchorage emergency management”. It’s actually a great resource, with links to different disasters that are likely to occur in and around Anchorage and a printable Household Emergency Plan.
I think that one of the things that shows how well-prepared Anchorage is is the simple existence of such a well-laid out and comprehensive emergency management website. Among other things, they have a list of the most likely disasters to happen in Anchorage (1. Earthquakes, 2. Wildfire, 3. Extreme Winter Weather, in case you were wondering) and a whole Disaster Kit list for what to buy ahead of time.
I think that a big improvement to Anchorage’s emergency preparedness would be to simply publicize its existence more! I lived there for 15 years and didn’t find out about this resource until this class (when it’s a bit late to be useful!).
I feel much better about the Anchorage community’s chances in the event of a disaster after finding this website.
Honestly, my pre-improvement emergency preparedness is pretty low. I have a little bit of camping equipment, such as a stove, water filter, and sleeping bag, but in terms of actual supplies I’m definitely underprepared. I think that the biggest gaps in my emergency preparedness are the lack of food and water at my house in the event of an emergency where I get cut off from the road.
My improvement to my emergency preparedness was to buy three gallons of purified water to keep under my sink in case the water doesn’t work anymore.
Hopefully I never have to use it! Also, I set a reminder on my phone to switch out the bottles in 6 months so that I’m sure it’s good water if the need does arise.
I found an article in Scientific American that describes the patterns of migration of people in counties that are affected by natural disasters.
The first key point is the most important – it deals directly with economic inequality. The authors of the article say that when a natural disaster happens, the wealthier residents of a county are more likely to leave the area than the poorer residents of the county.
Another point of the article was slightly more obvious, at least it seemed like that to me – residents of a place that’s more likely to be hit by a natural disaster, like a coastline or river plane, are also more likely to leave if they experience a natural disaster. To me, it seems like the disaster is sort of acting as a wake-up call to the residents of the area.
The final key point that I got from the article was the conclusion that the authors drew – wealth inequality is causing poor people to be more effected by natural disasters, and that problem is only going to get worse through time as richer people are able to move away from dangerous regions.
I selected this article because it was interesting to read, and it seemed like a pretty reliable source. Also, instead of just looking at the death rates or dollar amount of damage in different areas after natural disasters, the authors looked at other impacts that natural disasters have.
(I forgot to finish this and submit it before)
My event is the tsunami that happened in the Indian Ocean in December 2004. The countries that it affected the most were Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka.
The plate boundary in the area that the tsunami occurred was a subduction zone, where the Indian plate is subducting beneath the Burma plate. The type of event was a tsunami as a result of an undersea megathrust earthquake.
I think that the most interesting thing that I’ve learned so far is that the earthquake that caused this tsunami was the third-largest earthquake ever recorded via seismograph.
The first link that I found was written a year after the tsunami, and details the failings of the Sri Lankan government to adequately care for the victims of the tsunami, tens of thousands of who were still homeless at the time. That can be found here: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2005/12/sri2-d29.html
The second article talks about how some islands were made uninhabitable as an effect of the tsunami. Many farms were destroyed when salt water got into the fields, and many wells were poisoned when they were contaminated with salt water. The process of repairing the wells is so expensive that it’s almost impossible for a small village to accomplish. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6840-tsunamis-salt-water-may-leave-islands-uninhabitable/
The third article I found was very interesting. It talked about how peoples’ faith was affected by the tsunami. It has several comments from religious leaders such as reverends and monks, and also people who had their faith shaken by the tsunami. It got me thinking about how those kinds of incidents can change the fundamental way of life of the people affected. The article also mentions that people of various faiths were working together and allowing those of other religions to be buried in their cemeteries. In a region where differences of opinions can be deadly, it’s good to see that some good can come out of such a destructive event. Based on the fact that this article is made up mostly of quotes, I’m willing to accept it as pretty accurate, though I don’t really have any way to verify these quotes. It is released through the Associated Press, though, so that’s usually a reliable source. https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/index.php?id=25982
I think that this game did a good job of accurately portraying the role that prevention and education plays in helping to keep lives from being lost. I ran out of money and couldn’t do nearly as much as I wanted to do to save lives, which is also probably extremely accurate. I think that one of the things that I found annoying was the inability to upgrade more than one building at once. The user interface of the game could use work.
I’m going to summarize the results I found when I looked in to the mitigation efforts put in place in the areas that were hit by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
Basically, there weren’t any. This tsunami is the second deadliest natural disaster in the last 100 years, killing around 250,000 people. This is directly due to both the lack of an Early Warning System for tsunamis in the the Indian Ocean, and due to the fact that when people built homes and buildings in these regions, they made no effort to protect themselves in the event of a tsunami. The areas that were hit had overcrowded, poor citizens that couldn’t afford to build houses with tsunami-resistant materials, and the hotels that were built on the beaches were only built to hold tourists and have good views. In addition, the local governments hadn’t enacted any sort of zoning restrictions for high-risk areas, which could have prevented tens of thousands of lost lives.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami affected Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and India. The tsunami was caused by an undersea megathrust earthquake along a fault line. I think that the most interesting fact that I’ve learned so far about this tsunami is that it killed an estimated quarter of a million people. The earthquake that caused the tsunami was the third-largest earthquake that has ever been recorded on a seismograph.
Here are three links to articles about the social impact of the Tohoku Earthquake:
The first is a scientific study that was done on the Japanese public regarding their level of anxiety regarding certain types of natural disasters.
The second is the wikipedia article detailing the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
The third is an article from The Japan Times about scams that were prevalent in the affected region after the earthquake and tsunami.
The most interesting of these, in my opinion, is the first one. The study is called “The Effects of the Passage of Time from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake on the Public’s Anxiety about a Variety of Hazards”. The authors of the study did multiple surveys about how anxious members of the Japanese public felt about different natural disasters happening. I thought that this was the most interesting resource that I found because it addressed an issue that I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, the authors found that overall levels of anxiety about a natural disaster might fall pretty soon after the disaster occurs. I think that this resource is pretty accurate; reading through the paper I don’t see any glaring flaws in their methodology or conclusions (though I’m hardly the best person to be determining the validity of a scientific paper).
When playing the Stop Disasters earthquake scenario, I found out that for one, seismic sensors are really expensive, and for two, small towns may not have the necessary resources to adequately protect themselves from natural disasters. One of the things that I found annoying about this simulation was the user interface, which could have used some streamlining and was a bit clunky. Also, sometimes when I would click to find out more information about a building upgrade, it would automatically purchase it whether I wanted it or not.