Tsunami Essay

1731 Words Apr 12th, 2012 7 Pages
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,
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The landscape was altered unrecognisably, with large areas of coastlines washed away and some landmarks shifted to new locations. Debris and waste were widely scattered and farmland and underground water supplies flooded (Global Education, 2009). According to Grossman (2012), the large amount of the estimated 25 million tons of debris caused by both the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami washed away into the sea could hit the Hawaiian Islands and have catastrophic consequences, such as damage to the reefs and beaches that are homes of many indigenous species.
The Tohoku tsunami resulted in the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident with three reactors melting down: the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster (Kyutoku et al., 2012). Officials from the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that radiation levels inside and outside the plant were up to 1,000 times and 8 times normal levels respectively (Tabuchi and Walk, 2011). The reactors of the nuclear plant sustained major damage to the cooling system meaning that radioactive isotopes were released into the air, ultimately leading to contamination of soil, water and food. Radioactive chemicals were found in tap water in many cities, as well as in the soil and food products (Hur, 2011). Damage and destruction of water treatment and sewage systems increase the likelihood of outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, although outbreaks are less likely to
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