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Leroy Davis

In 1755, Lisbon was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The Lisbon, Portugal earth quake occurred along the Azores-Gilbratar fracture zone. This is an active seismic region where large earthquakes occur with frequency. At the time of the earthquake, Lisbon was preparing for one of the biggest celebrations in the religious calendar and the city was alive with activity in preparation for the forthcoming commemoration. A strange frightful noise underground was first heard, it sounded like distant rumbling of thunder. The first three shocks were over a ten minute period followed by an even more powerful second shock which sent buildings toppling down. There were two major aftershocks that caused added agony and despair to survivors. The Lisbon earthquakes caused considerable damage not only in Portugal but in Spain, Madrid and Seville. The shock waves were felt throughout Europe and North Africa, over an area of about 1,300,000 square miles. Moe than 18,000 buildings representing about 85% of the total were completely demolished. Over 30,000 people lost their lives in the first two minutes. The total death toll in Lisbon, a city of 230,000, was estimated to be about 90,000. Another 10, 000 people were killed in Morocco. The earthquake had wide-ranging effects on the lives of the populace and intelligentsia. The earthquake had struck on an important church holiday and had destroyed almost every important church in the city, causing anxiety and confusion amongst the citizens of a staunch and devout Roman Catholic city and country, which had been a major patron of the Church. The 1755 earthquake has sometimes been compared to the Holocaust as a catastrophe that transformed European culture and philosophy. The earthquake had a major impact on Portuguese politics. The king and the prime minister immediately launched efforts to rebuild the city a month after the earthquake. The Lisbon quake was redrawn, often in a fanciful manner, for many years throughout Europe. Chronologically, these depictions can be split into three groups. The first group was made immediately after the event, between 1755 and 1757. The second series is from the 18th century. The last are the illustrations for scientific or religious purposes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The earthquake after effects were almost as catastrophic as the earthquake itself. The fires that started as a result of the quake raged uncontrollably for five days. There was a lot of confusion that followed the earthquake. Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with a population of 564,657 within its administrative limits on a land area of 84.8 km2. Here are some natural disasters in Portugal that took place were the 2003 European heat wave, and the 2010 Madeira floods and mudslides that effected the Portuguese island of Madiera. The hurricane of Galveston September 8 1900 was the deadliest natural disaster in US history. At the end of the 19th century, Galveston, Texas was a booming city. Galveston Islands served as a base for slave trading, gambling, and saloons. The population in Galveston was around 42,000 and the biggest city in Texas. Galveston would also serve as home port to Navy ships engaged in the Texas War of Independence from Mexico. The city was in the midst of a great boom and cotton season had just begun. Galveston had become the largest cotton port in the US. Over the course of the city's existence it weathered many storms that cause an insignificant amount of damage to the city to cause concern. The citizens believed that the city had seen the worst that could happen so they didn't demand a seawall to be built and even the Galveston Weather Bureau made a statement saying that it was unnecessary because a big enough storm would never be able to reach the city. The citizens had no idea of what was to come. The Galveston hurricane was a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. An estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people lost their lives, mostly in the Galveston area. More than thirty-six hundred homes were destroyed and damage was estimated at over $30 million. Before the hurricane, Galveston had been home to one of the busiest ports in Texas and promised the title of the “New York of the South.” But with the storm, shippers were convinced to move north to a safer city, Houston. The land was raised about 17 feet in elevation. They pumped dredged sand beneath their foundation in an effort to raise the elevation so it would be harder for Galveston to flood. They raised over 2,100 buildings and built a sea wall along the island’s oceanfront and extended 10 miles. Historians contend that between 10,000 and 12,000 people died during the storm, at least 6,000 of them on Galveston Island. More than 3,600 homes were destroyed on Galveston Island and the added toll on commercial structures created a monetary loss of $30 million, about $700 million in today's dollars. Everything is higher than it was back then, and some spots are much higher. The feat of raising an entire city began with three engineers hired by the city in 1901 to design a means of keeping the gulf in its place. Galveston, Texas population is at about 48,000 today. In Texas a natural disaster may be a result of severe weather such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, drought, thunderstorms, winter storms and fire or less commonly from a disease epidemic. After the storm, the city languished for decades. It experienced a rebirth in the 1970s by marketing its history to tourists.
Great Chinese Famine was the period in the People's Republic of China between the years 1958 and 1961 characterized by widespread famine. Drought, poor weather, and the policies of the Communist Party of China contributed to the famine, although the relative weights of the contributions are disputed due to the Great Leap Forward. The Yellow River flooded in East China played a big role in the famine. It killed an estimated 2 million people through starvation from crop failure or drowning. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters of the 20th century. A lack of rain affected the agricultural land in northern China followed by droughts and floods. Until the early 1980s, the Chinese government's stance, reflected by the name "Three Years of Natural Disasters", was that the famine was largely a result of a series of natural disasters compounded by several planning errors. Some researchers outside China argue that massive institutional and policy changes which accompanied the Great Leap Forward were the key factors in the famine, or at least worsened nature-induced disasters. Since the 1980s official Chinese statements have said policy mistakes were part of causing the disaster, claiming that the disaster was 30% due to natural causes and 70% by mismanagement. The outcome of the famine was crop production decreased from 200 million tons, Birth rate decreased, and death rates show much more dramatic increases in a number of provinces and counties. The Great Leap Forward was initiated in 1958, after the First Five Year Plan had been declared successfully completed. One point of the Great Leap was starting to set up People's Communes in the countryside. However, the Party had optimistically over-estimated the country's productivity during the First Five Year Plan. In reality, farming activity had gone down due to the All-Canteen. The outcome of the famine was,15 million excess deaths, a part of the Great Leap Forward movement, Four Pests Campaign (worsened the famine), and Consequences were Termination of the Great Leap Forward movement. The origins of the famine can be traced to Mao Zedong's decision, supported by the leadership of China's communist party, to launch the Great Leap Forward. This mass mobilization of the country's huge population was to achieve in just a few years economic advances that took other nations many decades to accomplish.2 Mao, beholden to Stalinist ideology that stressed the key role of heavy industry, made steel production the centerpiece of this deluded effort. Instead of working in the fields, tens of millions of peasants were ordered to mine local deposits of iron ore and limestone, to cut trees for charcoal, to build simple clay furnaces, and to smelt metal. All three natural disasters had a great life-altering impact on the individuals and families fortunate enough to survive them. But the effect of natural disasters can be felt at the community, city and state level, or many times can impact an entire country. How well the impact of a disaster event is absorbed has much to do with the intensity of the impact and the level of preparedness and resilience of the subject impacted.

Read more: The Impact of Natural Disasters | Ashton, Basil, Kenneth Hill, Alan Piazza, Robin Zeitz, "Famine in China, 1958-61", Population and Development Review, Vol. 10, No. 4. (Dec., 1984), pp. 613–645.
Banister, J. "Analysis of recent data on the population of China", Population and Development, Vol.10, No.2, 1984.…...

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