Disasters are natural or human-made events that negatively affect daily life, industry, environment, etc., often leading to permanent changes in human societies and the animals that inhabit that place.

Ecosystems and environment

A catastrophe has disastrous consequences, showing the vulnerability of the balance necessary to survive and prosper; many things in the world can harm the human being.

tsunami wave hits Japan
Tsunami wave hits Natori City

However, we often hurt ourselves by negligence, by a wrong decision, or even by pure malice. Next, we review some of the disasters caused by human hands worldwide:

Chernobyl tragedy

To start, the current year marks the 31st anniversary of the so-called ‘Chernobyl tragedy’, the most serious nuclear disaster ever.

On April 26th, 1986, a breakdown and subsequent fire in one of the 4 reactors of the nuclear power plant with this name had disastrous consequences, which people still suffer in Ukraine, Belarus, and some provinces of Russia -formerly the Soviet Union.

The Chernobyl reactor explosion caused 31 direct deaths, ruined the lives of tens of thousands of people, changed the landscape of an entire territory over the next thousands of years, and modified the world’s perspective of atomic energy.

Bophal disater

The biggest industrial catastrophe in history was the 45-ton leakage of toxic gas at an Indian pesticide factory in 1984, which is remembered as ‘the Bhopal disaster’.

In the first 24 hours after the escape, a minimum of 3,000 people died and, subsequently, another 15,000 died from the aftermath. Many of the 150,000 affected filed lawsuits against Union Carbide, the multinational that owns the factory, as the facts evidenced its negligence in the field of security.

As a consequence, that company had to pay compensation of 500 million dollars in exchange for ‘exempting’ its responsibility so those new lawsuits were not admitted on the case.

Oil wells burning in Iraq

Another case of a man-made disaster was when the Iraqi army was bombed by United States warplanes; it set fire to more than 700 oil wells in Kuwait as part of a ‘burned land’ tactics. The last of the fires, which caused large economic losses and widespread pollution, could finally be extinguished in November 1991.

The first atomic bombs dropped in Japan

In 1945, the ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima and the ‘Fat Man’ dropped in Nagasaki became the most serious nuclear catastrophe in the history of mankind. The consequences of this pair of events caused hundreds of thousands to die due to radiation effects throughout the subsequent years, aside from people who die almost immediately when nuclear explosions took place.

To finish the list, Costa Rica occupies the 5th place among those most exposed countries to natural disasters. Due to factors such as vulnerability, susceptibility, and the ability to serve the affected population, among others, our country has 17% risk of disaster becoming in this way the 2nd most vulnerable country to disasters in Latin America.

Supply of energy, food, and water are included among the potential risks, according to their geographical location, infrastructure, and social impact in the event of a disaster.

We must take care of our ecosystem. Do not forget that our country is located on two very active tectonic plates, which is highly exposed to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

Additionally, there is also a volcanic area under observance. Remember the eruption of the ‘El Turrialba’, which last eruptive cycle began in October 2014, having its most intense activity between May and June 2016, including at least 3 Strombolian eruptions in that same period. According to records, during its last eruption, the volcano expelled ash after it presents constant passive emanation of gases. We should not forget that, after all, this volcano is the largest in our country.

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