Tag: natural disasters

After the Aftermath

After the Aftermath

A single door frame bearing a portrait of Mao Zedong remained standing in a pile of debris along the road heading to Wenyuan, the epicenter of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake
A single door frame bearing a portrait of Mao Zedong remained standing in a pile of debris along the road heading to Wenyuan, the epicenter of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake (Courtesy of Miniwiki.org/ Public Domain)

The number of recorded natural disasters has doubled in the last two decades, to about 400 a year now. Population growth, particularly in disaster-prone coastal areas, has put more people in disaster’s path, and U.N. officials, among others, claim climate change is causing an increase in weather-related disasters. Terrorism, wars and pandemics also seem likely to plague the 21st century.

Hazard managers know how to build structures that can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes. Disaster researchers are working on a more difficult problem: What can the government do to help people overcome the emotional aftershocks that continue, even after the tremors calm and the floodwaters recede? Studies of recent tragedies suggest that displaced children should be one focus of post-disaster aid. But those studies also point out just how little is known about the best ways to reduce the long-term impacts of cataclysm.

“After the Aftermath”

Pacific Standard, January/ February 2010

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