How fragile we are in this world of ours. Everything from storms, earthquakes, floods, landslides, blizzards, lightning strikes, tsunamis and suffocation (Yes, suffocation…explained below) to name a few disasters.
Some of these events are unpredictable, but others have dire consequences because of what man has done to himself. We build close to water. Masses of people choose to inhabit cities that are built on earthquake faults. We destroy soil because of our deforestation producing mudslides. When people around the world have had enough, they may decide to make some changes.
Having lived in Florida for many years, we are aware of what terrible storms can do to an area. If we have few hurricanes in a year, we breathe a little easier. We often like a good, soaking rain as it helps to replenish our underground aquifer for drinking water. Preparations when a big one is coming is all one can do. Most people on the coast…east or west…move to higher ground. We live in central Florida which is the only higher ridge that is part of our peninsula. Even our street is on a high hill where water runs to a lake. This is unusual…and we are fortunate when storms hit.
1991 Hurricane Andrew: For 27 years, South Florida had been spared a severe hurricane. Then Andrew arrived, the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history at the time. Andrew wrecked more property than Hugo, Agnes and Betsy combined, with damages estimated at $25 billion. Twenty-three died.
When Hurricane Andrew devastated the Miami area, my husband went to help those in need. Most people do just that…while, unfortunately, some come to take advantage.
2005 Hurricane Wilma in South Florida…leaving the entire region damaged, dark and startled by the ferocity of a storm that many had not taken seriously enough.
People from around the country came to Florida when Hurricane Charlie made landfall. They camped in our church…worked in the day putting covers on the roof tops and returned at night to shower and eat a meal.
Here in the USA, we remember Katrina where the official deaths were 1, 464 and Hurricane Sandy with 148 fatalities.
2010 was a devastating time for Haiti. It was a “mother-load” earthquakes, cholera epidemic, and Hurricane Tomas. Here are some of the facts about this disaster.
- 12 January: the magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti. The earthquake killed between 46,000 and 316,000 people.
- 20 January: A second earthquake of magnitude 6.1 occurred on 20 January 2010 at 06:03 local time.
- 20 October: A cholera epidemic hit outside of Port-au-Prince, killing at least 3,597 and sickening over 340,000.
- 5 November: Hurricane Tomas hits and kills at least 10 Haitians causing damage and worsening the cholera epidemic.
We also have a friend in our church who flew missions into Haiti during that devastating storm and other friends who went with mission teams to help in any way possible.
Do you know what a limnic eruption ( or lake overturn) is? It is a rare type of natural disaster in which dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) suddenly erupts from deep lake water, suffocating wildlife, livestock and humans. An example of this is : Lake Nyos in Cameroon, suddenly emitted a large cloud of CO2, which suffocated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns and villages.
Some disasters you may not know about:
- The 1931 Central China floods or the Central China floods of 1931 were a series of floods that occurred in the Republic of China. Estimates of the total death toll range from 145,000 to between 3.7 million and 4 million.
- The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck Bangladesh and India. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge.
- The 1970 Ancash earthquake or Great Peruvian Earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred on May 31 of that year. Combined with a resultant landslide, it was the worst catastrophic natural disaster ever recorded in the history of Peru. . Due to the large amounts of snow and ice included in the landslide and its estimated 20,000 fatalities it is also considered to be the world’s deadliest avalanche.
- The Iran Blizzard of February 1972 resulted in the deaths of approximately 4,000 people. A week-long period of low temperatures and were hardest hit, with no survivors in Kakan or Kumar. In the northwest, near the border with Turkey the village of Sheklab and its 100 inhabitants were buried.
- The 2003 European heat wave was the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540. France was hit especially hard. Analysis places the European death toll at 70,000.
All of these disaster were terrible and many people may never recover from the impact they had on lives and businesses. They must not lose hope. We at Boyer Writes want to honor those in the Philippines who are hanging on to life…but also remember the approximately 10,000 souls that have died in this terrible storm. Be generous in your prayers and aid…that help may reach them soon.