Introduction to Sociology of Disasters

654 words | 3 page(s)

This paper seeks to establish causes of disasters and the impact they have on the human population. A lot of calamities have occurred since time immemorial. Governments have sought for ways means of managing the disasters that usually happen at unpredicted moments. Several ideologies put forth to explain several disasters that have occurred in the past. Some of the expressed theories are scientific while some are human beliefs and superstitions. This will establish and evaluate some of disasters and theories that got formulated. A number of disasters have happened before, and this paper will look into the impacts the disasters bore any measures that would have predicted and curbed the aftermath of the disasters.

A disaster is a natural or human instigated calamity that usually causes great havoc to property, human life and the general order of nature. This paper shall focus on natural calamities that have occurred in the past. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes are among natural disasters that have caused havoc to human beings over the years. Governments are usually at task to save victims. The biggest hurdle is finding setting out preventive measures so as to mitigate damage (Vollmer, 2013).

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Disasters and their Empirical Analysis
One of the most devastating earthquakes in history is the Mega Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in 1995. The earthquake struck Kobe in 1995. Empirical analysis and mixed methods research by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that 6,300 people died, 30,000 got injured, and 300,000 became homeless. This has gone in the history books as one of the worst hit earthquakes. Geologist and scientists have tried to formulate theories behind the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. Geologists claim that movement of rocks and volcanic activities in the area caused the earthquake (Vollmer, 2013). The earthquake was not predicted and the government’s and other authorities’ efforts became futile as the massive earthquake caused thousands to die. Several people got injured.

Another natural disaster in the recent past is the Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. However few people got killed and injured compared to Hurricane Katrina. When the shoreline of New Jersey got hit by the hurricane, trends on Twitter and Facebook saved a lot of people. Statistical evidence shows that a number of residents complied after reading posts on Facebook and Twitter and took measures to save their lives. A lot of property was all the same damaged. Cars got swept away by water and houses immersed in water. Few rescues on the properties became successful (McEntire, 2007).

Another disaster that can go unmentioned is the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. This became a disaster owing to human error. The tanker that carried oil accidentally spilled 42 million liters of crude oil in the sea waters. This caused a biological disaster to the aquatic ecosystem. Several fish died and aquatic plants withered. The oil according to environmental experts had caused the waters to be air tight. This means that no air circulation took place and the fish died to lack of oxygen.

Measures in Disaster Management
Several measures can be taken to prevent sociological disasters. The United States having learnt from a number of disasters has employed the satellite technology to monitor hurricanes and tornadoes (McEntire, 2007). This allows fast action and prior warning to citizens when a disaster is looming. This was witnessed during the Hurricane Sandy where residents of New Jersey got forewarned to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in government provided areas. Those who had families elsewhere moved in to escape the aftermath of the Hurricane. Earthquake detectors have also been invented to help detect looming earthquakes in time and warn citizens before it strikes.

Natural disasters are hard to manage because their magnitude and time of happening has become elusive for scientists to predict. However, using the available tools and resources governments should be able to detect and help citizens evacuate in time. Emergency resources should be set aside for disasters to enable action be taken in time to avert any damages (Vollmer, 2013).

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