Searching for Shelter : A Safety Guide to Natural Disasters

A natural disaster happens when the consequences of a natural hazard are felt by communities. A natural hazard can be defined as things like landslides, earthquakes, eruptions from volcanoes, hurricanes, tornados and even floods. A natural disaster always causes losses, which can be human (deaths), financial or environmental. The degree of all kinds of losses from a natural disaster largely depends on an affected area and population’s vulnerability and its ability to be resilient against the natural hazard. Because of the devastation left in the wake of a natural disaster, it is imperative that people obey all safety precautions during the occurrence of a natural disaster. Even after a natural disaster has passed, there will still be other hazards like fires and looting, which demand that safety precautions are followed.


Earthquakes are known as tremblors, temblors or quakes, too. These natural disasters are caused by an abrupt emission of energy in the crust of the Earth, which in turn gives off seismic waves. Seismic activity is a phrase that speaks of the size, type and frequency of any given earthquake that is felt over a certain period of time. Seismometers, which are tools used to measure ground motions, provide observations that are then utilized to measure earthquakes. The Richter Scale is the scale used to assign a quantity to describe the energy unleashed during any given earthquake.


Floods can be thought of as overflows of water, which tend to submerge sections of land. According to the European Union, the definition of a flood can even be as straightforward as the covering of land by water that is temporary, when that land is not normally covered by water. The cause of flooding may be based on a body of water’s volume overflowing or just breaking levees, which has the effect of the water going beyond its normal boundaries. The damage that floods leave in their path is usually damage to both businesses and homes, provided said businesses and homes are in the path of the floodwaters.


Hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, are called storm systems that are defined by many thunderstorms and plenty of big, low-pressure systems. Hurricanes are known to get stronger when evaporated ocean-water is emitted as saturated air goes up into the atmosphere. This creates a water vapor condensation that is found within the moist air. There is a difference between a hurricane and other kinds of cyclonic systems. The main difference is that the center of a hurricane will be a warmer temperature than its immediate surroundings, whereas other cyclonic systems do not have this feature.


Tornadoes are rotating, harrowing and turbulent columns of air that come into contact with both a cumulonimbus cloud and the ground. Words like “cyclone” and “twister” are also used in terming and describing a tornado. The appearance of tornadoes is usually in an observable condensation funnel, the narrow end of which makes contact with the ground and is surrounded by debris and dust. Average tornadoes possess speeds of winds that are lower than 110 miles per hour, a diameter of 250 feet, and move a few miles prior to petering out. More extreme tornadoes, which are quite rare, can well exceed these aforementioned characteristics of speed and size. For example, more extreme tornadoes are quite capable of getting up to speeds of winds in excess of 300 miles per hour, featuring a diameter in excess of 2 miles, and traveling on the ground for at least several miles.


A sequence of water waves created by a big displacement of water volume, tsunamis can also be referred to as tsunami wave trains. Tsunamis mostly take place out in the open ocean, although it is not unheard of for tsunamis to even take place only in a lake. Tsunamis take place very frequently in the country of Japan, with about 195 such natural disasters having already been recorded in that part of the world. Tsunamis have the natural power to utterly destroy whole coastal areas, and this is because of the huge water volumes as well as the ferocious energy that is involved. Tsunamis can be created by any number of other natural occurrences, which include events like earthquakes, meteorite ocean impacts, underwater explosions like the detonations of nuclear devices below the ocean’s surface, landslides from glacier calvings, and other types of massive movements. While tsunamis have also been termed “tidal waves” in the past, this reference is increasingly being discontinued by the scientific community.