Portal:Disasters

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DISASTERS PORTAL

Introduction

Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.

A disaster is a serious disruption, occurring over a relatively short time, of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazards and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as in the case of uninhabited regions.

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.

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Quake epicentre and major cities affected
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged. The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other settlements in the region. Many notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. Among those killed were Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot, and opposition leader Micha Gaillard. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti located in the capital, collapsed, killing many, including the Mission's Chief, Hédi Annabi.

Many countries responded to appeals for humanitarian aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel. Communication systems, air, land, and sea transport facilities, hospitals, and electrical networks had been damaged by the earthquake, which hampered rescue and aid efforts; confusion over who was in charge, air traffic congestion, and problems with prioritisation of flights further complicated early relief work. Port-au-Prince's morgues were quickly overwhelmed with many tens of thousands of bodies having to be buried in mass graves. As rescues tailed off, supplies, medical care and sanitation became priorities. Delays in aid distribution led to angry appeals from aid workers and survivors, and looting and sporadic violence were observed. On 22 January the United Nations noted that the emergency phase of the relief operation was drawing to a close, and on the following day the Haitian government officially called off the search for survivors.

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News and current events

Wikinews on Disasters and accidents
  • November 12: Dozens of people killed in Mogadishu, Somalia car bombings near Sahafi Hotel
  • November 5: Storm causes building wall at Amazon.com warehouse to collapse
  • October 23: Train derails near Xinma station in Yilan, Taiwan
  • September 29: Airplane crashes into ocean in Micronesia
  • May 20: Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano releases ash plumes to 30,000 feet, prompting aviation alerts
  • April 10: Deadly fire below US President's Trump Tower residence
  • April 8: Thirteen-year-old boy in Los Angeles, California thanks city personnel for rescue from sewage pipe
  • March 21: Uber suspends self-driving car program after pedestrian death in Arizona, United States
  • March 7: Winter storm fells US President George Washington's tree at Mount Vernon estate, Virginia
  • February 24: Bus crash in Ocoña District of Peru costs over 40 lives
Ongoing disasters
Ongoing armed conflicts

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