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Monday, June 24, 2024

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Natural Disasters

FLOODS, LANDSLIDES in England, Continental Europe, South America, USA, deadly earthquake-triggered tsunamis in Indonesia, typhoon disasters in China, Japan and Philippines, bridge disasters in Italy, rail accident in India, earthquakes, hurricanes and natural disasters in Japan, USA, and Greece! Natural disasters have accosted the human race since time immemorial, and, in threatening the safety and survival, can be likened to unexplained horror thrillers on the cinematic landscape of experience. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and pandemics have visited devastations on populations – from the destruction of Pompeii in antiquity and the ravages of the Black Death during the Middle Ages, to Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean Tsunami only a few years back. Together they form an unbroken chain of deadly modern and historic events. But these events have increased tenfold or more over recent decades both in frequency and intensity. It is as if everything is bearing down on us from all sides as never before! But what is the response of people?

Newspapers pick up on these events and write sensational reports with engaging titles in order to get the attention of as many readers as possible. Television stations try to outdo each other with ‘exclusive footage’. People with smartphones post to social media outlets, which then go ‘viral’. Charitable associations send donations in the form of money, clothing, food and drink to help the people affected by these disasters. International rescue teams consisting of highly trained specialists and equipped with cutting edge technology are deployed around the globe and special concerts or other events featuring top-flight celebrities or sports personalities are held to raise funds.

But the question does not even arise: ‘How is it that so much misfortune has struck or befallen humanity in recent times?’ or ‘What is the reason for the rising scale of natural and man-made disasters?’ It seems we have neither time nor inclination for that, because there are much more important events and occurrences vying for our attention such as a football match, golf tournament or cricket match, perhaps a new-record run or bike race, and soon those other events are overshadowed and forgotten. Or is it that these events are now so frequent and commonplace that unless we or our loved ones are directly affected, we would rather ‘switch off’ and enjoy life while we still can? Who knows what lies around the corner?


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