Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes…
Earthquakes and other catastrophic events can strike suddenly on a massive scale over a wide area with a death toll in the tens of thousands. While the tsunami threat after an earthquake (Indonesia 2018 Japan 2011, Southeast Asia 2004) does allow a brief time to post a warning, often it is too little to save lives. In the case of earthquakes and volcanoes, the series of aftershocks or continued volcanic activity poses an ongoing threat in the midst of the chaos after the initial event.
Although we can identify earthquake/volcano risk regions, such as the “Ring of Fire” in the South Pacific or the San Andreas fault in Southern California, we have little warning when a sudden event devastates a country or entire region.
Sometimes the event starts a cascade of catastrophe as in the Japan Earthquake of 2011 that added a monstrous tsunami and then a nuclear disaster with reactor damage and radioactive contamination of air, soil and water. Volcanic eruptions can bury entire communities or inundate whole areas with lava flows and fill the air with deadly toxic gases or ash. The readiness challenges for effective disaster response and recovery after a catastrophic event are formidable.