The rate and intensity of natural disasters in the year 2017 reveals a consistent escalation of nature’s fury at an alarming rate. This sampling is only a portion of the challenging events from the year. Remember that each of the statistics represent real people and real suffering. The dead leave mourning loved ones behind. The property damage includes family homes and businesses. Life is a grand adventure and there is good reason to find hope and not live in fear, but the suffering is very real.
California wildfires destroyed over 1000 structures and forced the evacuation of almost 100,000 people. The cost totaled a whopping $180 billion.
The Mount Agung volcano erupted in Indonesia forcing the evacuation of 100,000.
Ten hurricanes formed over the Atlantic and made landfall in 2017, devastating numerous cities with high winds and heavy flooding.
- Hurricane Harvey killed 82 and cost $180 billion.
- Irma killed 61 with damages totaling $200 billion.
- Maria killed between 55 and 500 people (depending on the report) and caused damages totaling $95 billion. Maria left thousands of victims without power, food and water for an extended period of time.
Mexico was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake and another 8.1 within just a few weeks. The death toll rose to over 300 and left 2.5 million people in need of aid. An earthquake in Iran killed 530 and injured thousands.
Heavy rains, flooding and landslides wreaked devastation in many countries.
- South Asian Monsoon caused flooding in Bangladesh and Nepal killing over 1,200. It has been labeled the worst regional humanitarian crisis in years affecting more than 41 million people with nearly 2,000 relief camps providing urgent shelter.
Colombian mudslide killed 300.
- Severe rains in Zimbabwe kills 117 and leaves thousands homeless.
- Flooding in China has left 144 dead and displaced one million people destroying 31,000 homes.
- Floods in Peru took 150 lives and affected over one million with a restoration price tag of over $9 billion.
- Avalanches in Afghanistan and Pakistan caused from heavy snowfall took 156 lives.
- Democratic Republic of Congo flooding and landslides killed 174 and left 280 orphans
- Sri Lanka suffered 213 deaths from flooding and landslides. An additional 250 people died after the initial disaster from dengue fever due to lack of safe, clean drinking water and shelter.
While we are unable to control the power of nature, we can prepare and mitigate the loss of life and property. Are you ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice? Do you know where to go?
Advanced planning and preparation can seriously mitigate the loss and suffering resulting from natural disasters. Consider implementing these ideas as you develop your evacuation plan.
Home—Prepare your home to minimize the impact of earthquakes, floods and wildfires. You can find helpful ideas in The Provident Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies and on the internet through your local government organizations.
Destination—Once you leave your home you become a refugee, which is a dangerous status. Evaluate your personal risk factors and plan where and when to evacuate in various scenarios. Ideally evacuation planning will include these destinations:
- A meeting place outside of the home (i.e. house fire)
- Higher ground (i.e. tsunami, local flooding)
- Same or neighboring city several miles away from your neighborhood (i.e. localized event such as HAZMAT spill)
- Bug out location out of the area by at least 100 miles so it is not affected by the same event (i.e. hurricane)
Survival Kits—Prepared specific personalized kits that you can grab at a moment’s notice which contain important items. Survival kits can be specialized for each individual and application. Personal, pet, automobile, commuter, first aid and tools are just a few of the types of kits you may want to prepare in advance and keep rotated.
Lists—Detailed lists of things to do or items to grab at the last minute. Stressful situations may cause your brain to freeze, much like a deer in the headlights. Lists make it possible to remember critical items when you need to evacuate. Make lists to attach to the top of each kit reminding you to grab items such as; purse, medications, perishable foods, critical documents, phone charger, cash, etc. Another list should also contain reminders such as; lock the door, turn off the water; place valuables in safe; and other last-minute things you may need to do to secure your home before you leave. Be sure to include a list of all important contact names and addresses. We post our lists on the inside of the entry closet door where our personal kits are kept.
There is no need to live in fear. We may not be able to control these risks, but you can take steps to mitigate the effect these events may have on our life. Simple actions taken now can significantly increase your comfort and chance of survival. Prepare your home, plan destinations, create survival kits and lists. It really is that simple. You can do this!