On March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 Great Tōhoku Earthquake struck Honshu, the main island of Japan at 2:46 pm local time. The epicenter was 30 km deep, located off of the coast. It was the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan and the fourth largest earthquake on record. a rupture occurred at the convergent fault boundary in the Japan Trench and a 300 km long by 150 km wide section of the subduction zone slipped as much as 50 meters, the largest fault slip ever recorded. The Tōhoku region in northeast Honshu experienced violent shaking for six minutes and was shifted east by 2.4 meters. Scientists believe that clay helped lubricate the fault to create such extreme movement because it holds water and becomes slick, removing friction from the plate collision. There is a deep layer of clay on the Pacific plate and as it subducts beneath the North American plate a thin layer is scraped off, leaving an accretionary wedge of clay coating the boundary. Low-frequency infrasound waves generated by the earthquake were even detected 255 km above the earth in space by a satellite.

A colossal tsunami followed the quake caused by a combination of upward thrusting of the seafloor from the earthquake and a submarine mass movement event. Remnants of a 40 km by 20 km rotational slump were observed on the slope of the Japan Trench. Waves as high as 38 meters moved as fast as a jet plane, 700 km/hr and flooded the island up to 10 km inland. The tsunami had record run-up recordings at 38.8 meters above sea level. Abnormally large waved were documented all across the Pacific from the west coast of North America and South America to Russia. Also satellite imagery showed that the waves contributed to Antarctic glacier calving. YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis because it is located near multiple late boundaries on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The nation experiences one fifth of the world’s powerful quakes and the word tsunami itself is Japanese. Japan is extremely prepared for these hazards and has heavily invested in preparedness and mitigation plans. Over 1000 seismographs and hundreds of tide sensors are scattered around the islands comprising the world’s most advanced early-warning system. Alerts are sent out automatically over every medium of communication including personal cell phones and loudspeaker systems. Japan has built many hard structures along the coasts such as tsunami walls, flood gates and breakwaters. Building codes are strict and constantly updated with continuous research and assessment on building safety and design. Tall buildings are designed to sway and are set on deep foundations, many supported with shock absorbers. Concrete structures are built with a steel frame to give them ductility to be more resilient to a lateral load. Disaster shelters are prepared in case of emergency and some public spaces in cities are constructed with a secondary purpose as refuge zones. These spaces are cleverly designed as permanent installations ready to house and sustain people at a moment’s notice with underground food and water reserves and innovations such as solar-powered charging stations and benches that turn into stoves for cooking. Disaster preparedness is deeply ingrained into society and has become part of Japanese culture. People constantly practice intensive drills and receive briefings on potential hazards from the time they begin school.

Japan is one of, if not the most prepared nation in the world for these types of hazards. The population is also not considered vulnerable in a country with the third largest GDP in the world that is known for its technological innovation and advancements. Japan can handle earthquakes that would cause considerable damage elsewhere and regularly experiences quakes with a magnitude between 4.0 – 5.0. However, the 2011 “trifecta of tragedy”, earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear accident was the perfect storm. Like the swiss cheese activity in class, everything lined up perfectly to make this one of the worst disasters in history. The death toll as of April 2015 is 15,890, another 2,590 people were reported as missing and presumed dead and 6,152 injuries were recorded. An overwhelming majority of the deaths and injuries were due to the tsunami. Hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed, over 25 million tons of debris was generated in the 3 worst affected prefectures and hundreds of fires were started from broken electric and gas lines. The damage has cost Japan $300 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in history. Considerable economic losses were suffered by other countries around the pacific as well. Response efforts were divided among all departments of the Japanese government who were immediately mobilized and dispatched. Despite their organization, no amount of preparation and prior planning could have anticipated the 2011 catastrophe. Transporting supplies was impeded by the damage to roads and infrastructure and contributed to the physical and psychological distress of refugees. Flooded areas did not drain naturally due to subsidence of the land from the quake. Floodwall failure and standing water further hindered supply distribution and posed an obstacle for search and rescue. Certain areas were only accessible by helicopter for 2 weeks. The combined loss of power from the Fukushima coast, one of Japan’s largest single electric source regions and the shut off of the island’s other reactors caused additional setbacks to emergency response efforts.


A “state of nuclear emergency” was declared because the tsunami also caused the world’s first triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency gave the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster a 7 rating on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, the highest rating and the same as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. 140,000 people who lived within 20 km of the Fukushima reactors were evacuated and many are still displaced. Radiation continues to leak from the reactors and irradiated water is still being released into the ocean. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) has been unable to remove hundreds of dangerous fuel rods as the clean up process moves into its fourth year. Japan had relied on nuclear power for 30% of its electricity supply prior to the Fukushima accident but most of the 54 reactors in the country have not been reopened. The loss of this power source has contributed to a national energy crisis as Japan has little fossil fuel reserves and now depends on imports for 80-90% of its energy. The psychological effects of the disaster have had a large burden on Japanese society, with a spike in PTSD, depression and suicide rates among people living in the most impacted regions.

I chose this disaster because I find it incredibly fascinating and it has had such monumental consequences that are still being felt and dealt with today. The earthquake and tsunami struck when I was finishing up my senior year of high school so I remember how much it was covered by the news. I am also very interested in the Fukushima nuclear disaster and I have done a lot of research on it but not so much into the actual natural disaster that caused it.


February 7th 2009 marked one of the worst days for fire in Victorian history. It was also the hottest day in Victorian history. The highest temperature recorded in the normally temperate zone was around 48 degrees Celsius. The winds were clocked at a sustained 50mph. There was a zone of high pressure stalled over the commonwealth that would eventually start to move on the 7th. The commonwealth had been facing record high temperatures for the past week and was in a period of sustained drought. All of these factors would come together on what would soon be known as Black Saturday. Fires started before dawn on Saturday and would ultimately scorch more than 450,000 hecta-acres of land some 2,000 homes and kill 173 people. With temperatures reaching over 300 degrees Fahrenheit within the fires, many of the remains took days to recover and months to identify. These fires burned so quickly and with such intensity that even homes with the most ardent preparations failed and the people perished. However there were major failures on the day as well.

The fire plan for the state was poorly structured and lazily educated. The plans hinted that people should have fire plans but never offered concrete advice on what the best kinds of plans were or even gave a lot of information on what had working in the past. Much of what people knew about fire preparation and safety come from within the communities and was passed down between neighbors. There was also a lack of necessary emphasis on evacuation, both in what situations evacuation was necessary, as well as who needed to be evacuated earliest. Firefighters were well prepared and did what they could given everything that was working against them. The intensity of the blaze and the wind made it nearly impossible for air support to help firefighters contain the blaze.

The other major failure of the day came from the communication systems. Many different stations were meant to report to one central headquarters which was then meant to disseminate that information to those on the front lines as well as those issuing evacuation orders and other information to the public. This system completely failed due to a lack of training and all around failure to deliver necessary information at every level. A failure that would ultimately cause a majority of the deaths. When the fire rapidly switched directions and burned back up a hill taking out an entire community who had thought the danger was passed. The final failure that lead to much confusion after the fact was the lack of information about designated refugee spots. There was little to no information widely circulated about where people should evacuate to, and even then the information often came to little to late. People had actually evacuated to the area called Kinglake, which saw the most deaths. 

All in all there were over 15 individual fires that day. The large fire pictured in the above photograph caused a majority of the deaths. In the months following the fires the communities attempted to rebuild but many families did not return. There was simply not enough incentive to rebuild. The communities that did rebuild continue to feel the psychological effects of such a devastating disaster. A commission was set up by the government to investigate the failures of that day. Several long awaited changes were implemented including a more effective and prepared system of evacuation. The community was also more willing to accept this type of fire as a possibility, which is to say they now understood not all fires can be defended against.


I chose to do my case study on Cyclone Bhola. I did so mostly due to my interest in the subcontinent’s political and social history. I recently wrote my senior thesis paper on child trauma narrative that manifested in the face of India’s decolonization and simultaneous partition by the United Kingdom in 1947.

It was a tropical storm that made landfall over the course of two days. It’s effects and recovery process was a strenuous, highly politicized one that last for the next two years and became the first natural disaster that led to civil war. It happened in the southeast asian subcontinent, specifically the nations of Pakistan, India and East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Cyclone Bhola made landfall in the Delta Ganges area effecting India but more catastrophically, Bangladesh. With little to no previous means of mitigation, neither  human nor natural, the nation of Bangladesh and the outlying islands within the Bay of Bengal were horribly devastated.


Bhola cyclone track. Retrieved from

The devastation caused by Bhola were mostly due to the massive storm surge and its accompanied flooding, reaching up to estimates of 20-30 feet. Though most of the population was aware of the impending cyclone, very few evacuated because of indifference towards cyclones that often happened during the yearly harvest season. This disconcern combined with the utter lack of means to evacuate ( as the area had no stable transportation system or other means of emergency preparedness) and a fiscal attachment to their farmlands led to a high death toll. Though the death toll ranges greatly (anywhere from 300,000 to 1 million) it is generally agreed upon that there was 500,000 deaths and $84.6 million worth of damage done.

Pakistani domestic relief response was incredibly belaboured and minimal due to political tensions. Following the partition of India, Pakistan and East Pakistan international relations had been strained, especially due to the immense violence that followed. Though India did offer aid to East Pakistan almost immediately after Bhola, West Pakistan was hesitant to accept due largely in part to pride. But this hesitation was understandable especially given that India had known about the impending cyclone but had failed to relay the information to West Pakistan. But political games did not stop here, in fact West Pakistan became aware of Bhola  Not only did West Pakistani government hinder immediate international aid, but President Yahya Khan continued to provide subpar aid and deny the horrific nature of their distant nation because of  amongst all three areas, which eventually led to a civil war between Pakistan and East Pakistan that later materialized to the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent nation.


[Map of Bangladesh]. Oxford Cartographers. Retrived from

Arguably, Bhola itself is was what caused the massive catastrophe and even with previous mitigation there still would have been no stopping such destruction. That is, the population of the Delta Ganges were aware of a threat of tropical storms and flooding, as they had previously occurred and the crops depended on the deposition left by such flooding. The fertile soil then led to a dense population (one of the largest in the world) and regular seasonal workers. Such a dense population that even if there had been adequate emergency preparedness, evacuation would have been a nearly impossible task.  But at the same time, some mitigation and emergency planning by the community would have prevented such a high death toll. There had been a promise by West Pakistan government to install levees and seawalls following a relatively destructive storm a decade earlier but failed to do so. Further the residents of the Bhola stricken area lived in such immense poverty that the only connection with the outside world was through the hard to come by radio or word of mouth. A lack of resources such as a warning system and a coherent education on dangers of cyclones was largely due to the continuous lack of funding East Pakistan was given by their distant and detached government. So it was really environmental and human factors that led to the calamity that ensued following Bhola.

But the recovery process did spawn some interesting social phenomena and fun facts. For example following a recovery plan made by the World Bank, International Development Association for the first time   provided credit for reconstruction. Also this was the first time in history a natural disaster became a catalyst for civil war and later the establishment of a nation. In the following year ex-beatle, George Harrison, held a benefit concert entitled The Concert for Bangladesh, which not only raised awareness but also $250,000!



My case study was on the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The volcano killed 57 people and was the biggest volcanic eruption in US History.  Because it had been over 100 years since its last eruption, the population was not expecting a major disaster. However, the signs of eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980 began several weeks before that date. The main explosion was preceded by several events including slow magma build up in a bulge on the side of Mount St. Helens and hundreds of small earthquakes as early as March 16, 1980. Following the earthquakes, steam eruptions began to occur on March 27 resulting in a 200 ft crater being formed atop the volcano. This activity of small eruptions continued for several weeks which expanded the crater to 1,300 ft. The bulge had grown about 6.5 ft per day ending with it being a 450 ft growth. In fact, this formation was quite visible on the side of the volcano and indicated that magma had risen and become pressurized within it.

On May 18, an earthquake led to the bulge being dislodged from the volcano and sliding down the slope. Because of this, the pressure that had been contained within burst as hydrothermal steam out from the side of Mount St. Helens as a lateral blast. The avalanche that resulted covered a distance of roughly 230 square miles. The release of all the pressure that was previously contained inside the volcano led to a Plinian column of rapidly de-gassing magma which rose to a height of 12 miles and lasted for 9 hours. Winds carried the ash as far as the east coast of North America.

After the eruption, events progressed quickly with several secondary effects. For example, mudflows, avalanches, and flooding all occurred in the area. Lahars, mudflows that mix ash and water, forming a concrete-like substance ravaged the area immediately after eruption. The lahars blocked waterways and flooded the local area. One of the lahars traveled 120 kilometers from the volcano causing extensive damage over a wide area. Pyroclastic flows also occurred after the initial eruption resulting ins toxic gases being thrust down the side of the volcano

The State of Washington Department of Emergency Services was responsible for warning the public, but because of lack of funding and experience the eruption sent the office into chaos and a warning to local communities was two hours behind. The majority of the 57 deaths were from asphyxiation from the gases and ash. It was recorded that about 200 homes were buried and destroyed by the eruption and aftereffects of Mount St. Helens. Though only 57 were killed as a direct result, many more people were left homeless and disrupted.

A great amount of the recovery and restoration after Mount St. Helens was the removal of ash. An estimated 900,000 tons of ash was removed from just highways and airports in the state of Washington. Disaster relief was supplemented by the United States Federal government with funds of $951 million appropriated to the US Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Following the Mount St. Helens eruption on May 18 1980, awareness of volcanic eruptions increased significantly. Funding for the USGS Volcano Hazards Program also increased, creating more research through monitoring. Since the disaster the natural environment has restored itself since the catastrophic eruption becoming green and fertile once more and attracting many tourists to the two Mount St. Helens visitors centers.

Simple graphic map show where Mount St. Helens is located in the Pacific Northwestern United States.         Mt. St. Helens erupts with a lateral blast.

Case Study Summary _ Blount

This case study focuses on events that took place in 1958 off of the Alaskan panhandle in Lituya Bay when an earthquake induced landslide triggered a 1,720 ft. high wave, making it the largest wave in recorded history. Amazingly, this domino effect of hazards only claimed two lives but the landscape will be forever changed. This particular part of Alaska is especially susceptible to landslides due to an excessive amount of precipitation along its mountainous terrain and its extremely close proximity to an active fault. The Fairweather Fault is a strike-slip fault that runs directly through the Lituya Bay inlets, Gilbert and Crillon. The Fairweather Fault is equivalent in size to the San Andreas Fault and is responsible for the vertical movement in 1958 that loosened 90 million tons of rock from an elevation of 3,000 ft. at the head of the bay. The impact of the rock slide was powerful enough to generate an enormous wall of water capable of uprooting millions of trees within seconds from surrounding cliffs
This glacial fjord is almost completely landlocked. This was likely its greatest attribute in containing the damage within the bay. One reason for this was the cliff wall that served as a natural barrier while receiving the initial brunt of the wave. However, this massive displacement of water was forced south through an opening between the two inlets. This secondary wave varied in height, gradually reducing in size down the 7 mile long bay while consistently devastating the vegetated shorelines and destroying 2 of the 3 fishing boats on the bay. Because the surviving boat was the furthest from the point of impact, it was able to ride the wave for the better half of a mile until clearing the deposition bar (spit) at the shallow bay entrance where the wave quickly subsided in the open ocean.
Lituya Bay is an uninhabited area of land that is not accessible by roads and used mostly by fishermen because it is one of few suitable places to anchor in a 50 mile radius. That being said, the surviving boat’s distress signal had been responded to by other nearby fishing boats who soon came to witness the aftermath and aid in the recovery of any survivors. Again, Lituya Bay is an unpopulated section of land and to this day, the tiny Alaskan town of Yakutat remains the closest populated area which is over 80 miles away so preparations for this unusual hazard are limited to its more typical precursors. Even so, mitigation is almost an impossible conception against such a force of nature. The only feasible mitigation is to establish distance between oneself and potentially hazardous areas known for their record breaking anomalies.
I chose this case for two honest reasons. The first being that the chain effect of “natural hazards” would afford me an adequate amount of material to devise a case study of quality while maintaining the reader’s interest. However, I didn’t take into account the lack of answers toward questions that did not apply due to my case study’s non-existent population vulnerability, recovery phases, and preparations. Another reason why I chose this case study was to simply indulge in my fascination with “Mega Tsunamis” ever since I watched a dramatized documentary based on “worst case scenarios”. For some reason I’ve loved waves for as long as I can remember and that has not change with age.

POCTsunami_towers alternate angle summit



< here you are able to see the severity of natural deforestation




This isn’t a great simulation and it contradicts some of my sources but it sums up the event in 37 seconds



My case study is Hurricane Ivan (2004). I chose hurricane Ivan because I lived in the area that got damaged when the storm hit. My house was about 40 miles away from where the eye made landfall, which is actually quite close. The storm started out as a Cape Verde tropical depression and within a day it was a tropical storm. Two days after that, the storm became a Category 3 hurricane and eventually became a Cat 5 hurricane before it dropped to a Cat 4 and then became a Cat 5 for about six hours before it became a Cat 4 again. When Ivan was just to the west of Grand Cayman, it intensified to a Cat 5 again and the storm surge almost completely submerged the island. When Ivan entered the Gulf of Mexico, the cool waters and the wind shear caused the storm to drop to a Cat 4 and by the time the storm made landfall on the 16th of September, it was a category 3. The storm eventually dissipated and traveled towards the north east only to do a loop back and cross Florida to enter the Gulf and become a Tropical Storm again. As far as damages went, Ivan has been rated the sixth most costly of the recorded hurricanes, it was ranked third but hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Wilma displaced Ivan. The name Ivan was retired because of the death toll in the Caribbean and United States; there were a total of 121 deaths and $18.82 billion in damages.  Prevention in the United States was quite easy for Ivan as there were forced evacuations for the areas in the path of the storm and voluntary evacuations for the area that weren’t. The damages from the storm surges were so bad that it took two years to repair some of the roads, it has taken longer for some of the recoveries because the continuous hammering the area has taken from storms, which had now come to a kind of pause since about 2008.  800px-Hurricane_Ivan_ISS398px-Hurricane_Ivan2 458px-Hurricane_Ivan_05_sept_2004_1330Z 800px-Ivan_2004_trackdestroyed_houses-lg Pensacola_Beach Pensacola_Bridge


My case study is about the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. On June 15th, 1991, Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano, erupted — the eruption being the second largest eruption of the 20th century. Things got a little more troublesome as Typhoon Yunya drenched the island on that same day, resulting in a slurry of ash and water that, due to its density and heavy weight, multiplied the damage that would’ve been caused by ash alone.

The people of Central Luzon plain, where Pinatubo resides, weren’t the most prepared for a volcanic eruption. Their lack of preparedness is justifiable to an extent, though, in that the volcano had lay dormant for 500 years prior to its 1991 eruption. Many of the island’s inhabitants lived on the gentle slopes of the volcano, which were sporting lush woods and fertile farmland.

The area around Pinatubo was arable and ascribable to the agricultural nature of Central Luzon plain’s economy. The area was made so attractive to farmers by the volcano’s eruptions hundreds of years ago — which deposited volcanic debris for miles in its vicinity. Although this created a pleasant topography and good land, it also meant that a future eruption could potentially do the same, destroying whatever man and man-made structure which calls the very same area home now.

But these previous eruptions weren’t known about till Mount Pinatubo first awoke in the 20th century in early April — phreatic eruptions (steam explosions, mostly) and small earthquakes signaled the activity of this once sleeping volcano — after which local scientists thought they ought monitor the volcano in order that they can warn those in immediate danger of what impends.

After some time passed and the volcano seemed like it was more likely to explode, evacuation plans were made to clear the area within 40km of the summit of Pinatubo if need be. On the 13th of June, the first violent eruption happened, then some more happened on the 14th and then the biggest on happened on the 15th. All of them, but the eruption on the 15th the most so, spread huge clouds of ash that blanketed much of Luzon, sent pyroclastic flows roaring over the once welcoming slopes 4 km out, dropped pebble-like volcanic debris called tephra among the surrounding area.

One of the major issues was the coincidental Typhoon, which paired with the plethora of volcanic debris made massive mudslides referred to as lahars that destroyed homes and farmland and killed many.

Though the area was devastated by the event, the death toll was around 800, many of which were a result of wet ash collapsing the roofs of peoples’ homes. Many thousands were evacuated thanks to the local scientists’ ability to foresee and predict the eruption.

Minimal mitigation efforts were done, and most were a result of response to the initial disaster. Dams and dikes were built to minimize damage from lahars, as they were recurring after the eruption due to the frequent and high amounts of rain in the particular climate. Monitoring systems were in place for response to the 1991 eruption, but now the volcano is more closely observed, which will allow for future eruption predictions as well.

Volcano’s, even when predicted, are still going to do a huge amount of damage. Evacuations are the best ways to minimize deaths, as many structures will be destroyed by pounds of ash and landslides regardless.

There’s a lot of good images on Wikipedia’s Mount Pinatubo page and it offers some interesting links as well for more information.

Here’s a video of it erupting, with some other fun tidbit about things.

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Pinatubo Ash Cloud

Here’s a cool picture. It shows how massive the ash cloud was.

Damage from Eruption

Shows how the lahars and ash damaged homes.

Case Study Summary_Turanchik

I chose to do my case study on the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. It hit on October 17, 1989 at 5:04 pm and lasted for around ten seconds. It is well remembered because it took place during the third World Series Game on national television. It’s epicenter was ten miles outside Santa Monica in the Santa Monica mountains. Even though it’s epicenter was sixty miles away, the earthquake greatly effected the San Francisco area, the most famous example of this was the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge collapse. It was rated a 6.9 on the Richter scale, being the most devastating earthquake to hit the San Francisco area since the famous 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.  One of the major hazards of the earthquake was liquefaction, which had devastating effects on San Francisco’s Marina District. As a result of the earthquake, 63 people died, 3,757 people were injured, 27,000 structures were damaged, and there were $10 billion worth of damages. Five years after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, government officials held a symposium to discuss what went well and what went poorly so they could try to properly mitigate for future earthquakes. They realized that the mitigation already in place worked fairly well, they just did not have enough of it at the time of the earthquake, so afterward they started implementing more mitigation tactics.

USGS map showing epicenter and areas effected by the earthquake

Bay Bridge

San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapse.


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This clip shows the World Series coverage of earthquake that was broadcast nation-wide. It hits around 4:35



I chose to do my case study on hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina was a tropical cyclone, a low pressure system that feeds off of rising warm water. Katrina formed over the Bahamas as a tropical storm. The warm water of the Gulf of Mexico continued to feed it and make it bigger and more intense. The second time it made landfall was on the Mississippi- Louisiana coast. This is where New Orleans got its taste of Hurricane Katrina. While hurricane Katrina was a category 3 when she made landfall, some sources have contradicted this saying that the conditions experienced during the hurricane itself were only that of a category 1 or 2 (Keller, 2012).
The population was aware of the impending hurricane and that it had just a few hours earlier been one of the strongest to ever hit the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service (NWS) had been monitoring and tracking Katrina trying to predict her course. The long-time director thought it necessary to declare a governor hurricane warning for these two coasts and strongly urged evacuation (Keller, 2012).
While the college students who lived in New Orleans and the surrounding areas were receiving higher education, the areas heavily affected by hurricane Katrina were areas known for poverty and a lack of education (Keller, 2012).
One of the most obvious problems lies with the mitigation that the city of New Orleans had in place. Simply put, it failed. The construction of the levees and floodwalls could have been better according to experts as well as better maintenance and overall design (Keller 2012). The preparedness plan was too reliant on technology (Keller, 2012). People ignored expert warnings and did not heed their advice. The lack of direction people received after the hurricane also spread into post-disaster aid, or lack thereof as well as flood insurance and people living in areas previously flooded (Keller, 2012).
Where hurricane Katrina hit was to the southeast of New Orleans and therefore New Orleans missed the dangerous front right corner. The preparedness plan that did work, evacuating 1.2 million from affected areas and more than 400,000 displaced people were spread across 18 states in shelters, ended up saving countless lives (Keller, 2012). The estimated death toll was more than 1,200 lives (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007).
The initial assessment of what needed to be done after Katrina took a few weeks. The water had to be removed before anything else could happen. Once they had begun to get a hold on how long and costly cleaning up New Orleans was going to be hurricane Rita passed through in September, setting work back (Keller, 2012). Katrina has been called one of the most economically costly hurricanes to ever hit the United States.
Elliott, D. B. (2009). Understanding Changes in Families and Households Pre – and Post – Katrina. United States Census Bureau, from
Keller, E., & DeVecchio, D. (2012). Hurricanes and Extratropical Cylcones. In Natural hazards: Earth’s processes as hazards, disasters, and catastrophes (3rd ed., pp. 325-361). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2007). The Effects of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans Economy. Effects of Katrina on New Orleans, from
(2005, August 29). [Television broadcast]. New York, NY: Brian Williams. YouTube Preview Image

Case Study Summary_Parrish

I chose to do my case study on the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976. Tangshan is a city in the Hebei province of China, located approximately 150 kilometers east of the capital city of Beijing. The Tangshan Earthquake occurred on Wednesday July 28th, 1976 at 3:46 AM, originally a 7.8 on the Richter scale but later revised to a slightly smaller yet still severe 7.5. The earthquake ranked a ‘XI’ on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and is widely recognized as the worst earthquake in modern history. The official report was 242,769 dead and 164,851 injured, but the estimates are 2-3x higher. Due to liquefaction and unreinforced masonry homes, 85% of buildings in the industrial city collapsed. The quake occurred in the early morning, meaning most were in their houses with no means of escape. The city was rebuilt with significant government assistance and help from outside provinces, but the damage was extensive and it took years to rebuild. Many programs were set up to help prevent a disaster of the same scale of occurring, and a memorial was built for both sentimental purposes and for the education  of future generations.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 3.29.38 PMf

ault map created by me via ESRI ArcOnline


Photo by Hebei Provincial Seismological Bureau via U.S. Geological Survey1976_07_27_2a

The Chengli Bridge

Beijing-Shanhaiguan Railway
Photograph by China Features Agency, BeijingU138P200T1D331251F14DT20100728023248

Tangshan earthquake memorial