Is It Just Me Or Are There More Natural Disasters Nowadays Than Before?

Over the past few days, I’ve been asking myself whether it’s just me or are there more natural disasters around the world nowadays?

Why You Should Care About Natural Disasters

I think this question is important for social entrepreneurs to ask. Social entrepreneurs work with communities around the world, and many of them specifically work in field which deal with disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

I think the question is also relevant for all people in general. We only have one planet and we all live on it, so we need to understand how it’s working (and changing?).

Same Frequency. Different Perception?

After doing some initial research, I think it is just me.

Factually, I don’t think that there are more natural disasters nowadays than before.

Although I do think that many people (myself included) perceive that there are more natural disasters because we are more exposed to them and are mentally and emotionally affected by them.

Video Footage and a Discussion Which Sparked the Thought-Provoking Question

P and I had just finished dinner and I was flicking through the channels on our TV set. I channel surfed passed the CNN channel, BBC and Al Jazeera.

All of these news channels seemed to be focusing on the same thing – the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

I listened in and was curious about the latest updates from Japan. I was wondering about the effects of the natural disaster – whether there had been much destruction and much loss of life.

Staring at a Japanese Town Getting Destroyed by Tsunami

I watched in horror as the news showed video footage of gushes of water charging through the streets of a Japanese coastal town, tearing up buildings and hurtling cars and boats.

The video also showed Japanese men, women and children running up towards a nearby hill to get as high as possible above the raging tsunami.

Donate so that you can contribute to the relief efforts in Japan.

Making Connections Between Natural Disasters Worldwide

Watching the natural disater strike in Japan prompted me to think about other natural disasters in recent months including the Australian cyclones and Haiti earthquakes.

It then dawned on me to ask P the question: “Is it just me of are there more natural disasters nowadays than before?”

She had pointed out that she had commented on the same finding a few months back. But only now did I begin to question myself whether it was truly the case.

I mean it was only recently that Australia and Haiti were hit with the tremendous force of natural disasters.

Are natural disasters becoming more frequent, and should they be accepted as part of our ordinary existence wherever we are in the world?

Many People Are Asking the Same Questions About Recent Natural Disasters

It seems that alot of other people are asking the same questions about the frequency of natural disasters.

Some people point to a longer list of recent natural disasters including:

  • Indonesia (Boxing Day) Tsunami
  • Hurrican Katrina New Orleans
  • UK Floods (2007)
  • Haiti Earthquake
  • Icelandic Volcanoe
  • Australian Floods (also affecting South Africa and South America)
  • Australian Cyclone
  • New Zealand Earthquake
  • Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Natural disasters such as the ones above strike such fear and uncertainty into the minds of people. Even I feel worried about what’s been going on.

It concerns me I guess because I genuinely care about people. I also don’t like seeing the unnecessary loss of life due to natural disasters.

So Are Natural Disasters Here to Stay?

Yes. Although I don’t think that they are strikingly more frequent than they were before.

After doing some initial research, I’m of the opinion that natural disasters worldwide aren’t more frequent today than they were years before.

You can check out the Worldwide Earthquake Statistics of the US Geological Survey to see that the year 2000 has not necessarily brought about more natural disasters than the 1980s or the 1990s.

I may be totally wrong about this. I am not a geologist myself. So I’m open to others’ opinions about this.

2 Reasons Why We Perceive Natural Disasters to Be More Frequent & Deadly

There are 2 main reasons why I think we perceive natural disasters to be more deadly and frequent than before:

1. Natural Disasters in Highly Populated Areas

I think that areas are becoming more densely populated due to global population increases, and this has therefore increased the fatality statistics whenever natural disasters do hit.

2. More Coverage of Natural Disasters in the Media

Not only that, I also think that advances in information and communication technologies have meant that there has been much more media coverage nowadays on natural disasters than previously.

I remember back in the 1990s when I would see news items on Australian television about natural disasters in foreign places, and the news would only focus on the disaster for only a few minutes and then forget about it after that.

Nowadays, we have dedicated channels and news broadcast specials which focus on a natural disaster in real time, and they run ongoing updates throughout the entire day and for many days. People also tweet and facebook about global natural disasters too.

Globalizing the Impacts of Natural Disasters

From my observation, it seems that people, including myself, are now more emotionally and mentally involved in natural disasters that are occurring across the globe.

This can be a positive thing because we can be more informed about what’s going on in other places, and we can understand the problems elsewhere in order that we might help.

However, as we become more involved and exposed to natural disasters abroad, I think it heightens our awareness and perception that there are more natural disasters than once before.