The recent Tsunami in the Indian Ocean region is truly a catastrophe. There is no other word to describe the event(s) that have occurred there.
However, there have been worse, much worse in recent history. Not counting the genocides or other man made disasters, a quick look at other natural
disasters in the general area (Asia/Southeast Asia) shows disasters claiming MILLIONS of lives.
Good overview of planet earth.
NY Times: Nonetheless, elected officials and disaster agencies, both public and private, remain focused on responding to catastrophes instead of
trying to make societies more resilient in the first place, said Dr. Brian E. Tucker, a geophysicist and the head of GeoHazards International, a
private research group trying to reduce poor countries' vulnerability to earthquakes. For instance, while the United Nations in 1989 declared the
1990's the "International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction," and created a secretariat to run it, it set no concrete goals or timetable for
accomplishing them, Dr. Tucker said.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Florida (USA) went for more than a hundred years, thousands dead in hurricanes, before new building codes mandated new construction. Florida
suffered through four major hurricanes in 2004 with less losses than one major hurricane prior to the building
,in 1969, caused enormous damage. Florida still didn't change
much- Hurricane Andrew
caused the most building code changes. Without the previous
changes Andrew may have been worse than Camille.
Now Florida proved that improved codes
makes it possible to withstand
four major storms.
What about other places in the world? MOST do not have any type of viable building code, this is the main reason deaths in some places are very
While the very recent Tsunami was, as said above, a catastrophe it is not without parallel.
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[edit on 4-1-2005 by Banshee]