What Are Natural Disasters?
Natural disasters are severely damaging weather events that have both dangerous and costly repercussions to the people, environment, and structural property of an affected area. These extreme events can be deadly and financially devastating to a community, demolishing expensive infrastructure, homes, and land.
While large parts of Asia are economically stable, there are still many parts that are impoverished. Natural disasters are most dangerous for populations of these areas, where resources to protect and rebuild are scarce. Affordable protection is of the utmost importance.
Types of Natural Disaster in Asia
Asia is comprised of 48 countries and 3 dependencies. Frequently occurring natural disasters include earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms, and landslides, though floods in Asia are most common.
Natural Disasters in Asian Regions
Being the largest continent on earth, the different regions of Asia have vastly varying climates, resulting in many different kinds of natural disasters. However, the Asia-Pacific region experiences the most frequent and intense natural disasters.
Part of the Asian-Pacific region, the countries of China, Japan, North and South Korea, and Mongolia have experienced volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, monsoons, droughts, landslides, and floods. Almost 200,000 people in China lost their lives as a direct result of natural disasters from 1989 to 2018. Millions of hectares of land have been lost due to disasters, which can be financially devastating, as 550 million people in China rely on farming for their occupation.
Located on the Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates are moving and colliding, Japan has experienced serious earthquakes. In 2011, a magnitude 9 quake preceded a tsunami, demolishing around 100,000 buildings, and seriously damaging almost 1 million more. As of 2021, the disaster was still being dealt with. Restoration costs are estimated to be around $230 billion, making this the most expensive disaster in history.
Climate change is continuing to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in Asia. In 2021, millions of people in southern Asia were severely impacted by natural disasters. In India, over 18 million inhabitants dealt with flooding and cyclones, while a third of people in Nepal experienced floods and landslides, resulting in fatalities and destroyed homes.
The geographic location of this region of Asia induces many forms of natural disasters—volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, monsoons, and subsequently, massive floods. In 2007, extreme flooding cascaded into Indonesia, submerging around 70% of Jakarta, the large and diverse capital. Total public and property losses were estimated to be $565 million (USD).
Since then, many other countries have also faced destructive natural disasters. In November of 2020, the Philippines faced eight disasters in a three-week period—three typhoons and five cyclones, and at least 400 lost their lives following a 2021 typhoon. That storm caused around $459 million (USD) in damages to public infrastructure and the land utilized for agricultural purposes.
Iraq and Iran have both experienced many earthquakes, with a 2017 quake on the countries’ borders claiming at least 400 lives. Both droughts and floods are not uncommon, with unpredictable heavy rains destroying homes and roads in northern Iraq in 2021.
In 2021, Turkey faced many types of natural disasters, including drought, floods, and mudslides. Over 2,000 coastal inhabitants were displaced due to their homes and surrounding infrastructure crumbling.
Members of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan gathered in 2019 to discuss how to better prepare their countries to deal with natural disasters. With many types of extreme weather events plaguing the region regularly, it was necessary.
It was reported in 2020 that in Central Asia, $10 billion in economic losses occurs every year as a result of natural disasters like floods, landslides, earthquakes, and droughts. This is devastating to communities seeking to increase their economic standing—over 40% of people in this part of Asia live below the poverty line.
Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters
Both nature and humans can impact the regularity and severity of natural disasters. There are many damaging repercussions these extreme weather events have, impacting the environment, daily life, and infrastructure of Asian countries.
- Deforestation: The removal of trees weakens the water-absorbing root system in an area, making flooding more difficult to control and erosion more likely to occur. Southeast Asia in particular faces extreme deforestation, where land is cleared for agricultural purposes.
- Erosion: Floodwaters and deforestation can induce land erosion, increasing the likelihood of landslides. These not only can claim lives but also cause infrastructure and the environment to deteriorate, increasing the need for costly repairs.
- Climate change: The continued warming of the earth increases the heating of the ocean. This increases the likelihood of unstable and extreme weather patterns like hurricanes and tsunamis, and Asia is not immune to these issues: by 2050, it is estimated that because of climate change in Asia, countries will experience higher baseline temperatures, more extreme forms of weather, and a reduced water supply.
- Movement in the Earth’s crust: Seismic activity, like the natural shifting of tectonic plates, can induce earthquakes, sinkholes, and tsunamis. Many Asian countries are located near tectonic boundaries, though Japan sees the most earthquakes.
- Changing ocean currents: When ocean currents change, the water can become warmer, providing the perfect conditions for a tropical storm. Southeast Asia has dealt with the brunt of these disasters.
- Loss of life: In areas of Asian countries with more development and funds for effective disaster prevention, deaths from natural disasters have decreased.
- Food insecurity: Extreme flooding and drying droughts can heavily impact the food supply of a country—too much water or a lack of water can wipe out crops and livestock, leaving thousands underfed or forced to pay more money for imported goods.
- Exacerbation of disease: Research regarding the 2007 Jakarta floods shows that those lower on the socioeconomic scale are more likely to experience the negative impact of natural disasters. Without easy access to medical supplies, people living near stagnant floodwaters are at a higher chance of contracting waterborne diseases.
- Erosion: Floods, high winds, landslides, and earthquakes can devastate land that many people in Asia rely on for agricultural purposes—globally, over 70% of farmers reside in Asia.
- Population displacement: Floods and droughts significantly affect food sources, and leave communities (private properties and public infrastructure) uninhabitable, forcing people to leave their homes. In 2018, 13 million people in various parts of Asia were displaced due to natural disasters.
- Public property damage: No form of infrastructure is totally safe from natural disasters. Schools, bridges, public transit, factories, and roadways are at risk of damage or collapse during monsoons and earthquakes.
- Private property damage: Monsoons destroyed the homes of around four million in South Asia in 2020. This is, unfortunately, a semi-regular occurrence, and will continue to occur as climate change brings forth more severe and regular events of extreme weather.
- Economic loss: A 2019 report noted that natural disaster-related economic losses in South and Southwest Asia had doubled previous estimates, coming in at over $153 billion. The gross domestic product of a few counties, including Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, was found to be at risk of a 5% total reduction as a result of natural disasters.
How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster
Preparation is the most important aspect of protecting your community from the effects of a natural disaster. In addition to reliable forms of protection, like flood barriers, emergency funds are necessary to allow areas to be rebuilt in a timely manner, mitigating the chance of death, disease, and displacement.
The phases of governmental disaster management provide a framework to deal with the reduction of and response to natural disasters.
- Mitigation of effects: Ensure your community is equipped with effective forms of flood barriers, erosion control, and landslide diversion strategies. TrapBag® barriers are an incredibly durable form of protection that can be applied in a variety of ways to reinforce infrastructure, homes, riverbanks, and mitigate the effects of flooding.
- Preparation: it is important to provide your community with up-to-date knowledge before an emergency event. As they continued to experience seriously damaging natural disasters, Japan strengthened its disaster preparedness by establishing a plethora of earthquake checkpoints that measure seismic activity, allowing them to alert citizens as soon as possible. A huge flood-reduction infrastructure was also built, enabling floodwater levels to be lowered by four times in the event of a flooding emergency. While not all countries have the means to erect this kind of system, reliable flood barriers can divert water from high-risk areas, mitigating damages.
- Response: After a natural disaster occurs, identify regions that most require assistance, whether through rescue efforts, medical attention, or food and water supply.
- Recovery: Rebuild the community’s infrastructure and create a plan to better prepare for future events.
Prevention of Natural Disasters: TrapBag Barriers
There are many ways to prepare your home and community for a natural disaster. To mitigate the damage extreme weather events can have on a community, effective barriers, like TrapBags, are vital.
- Infrastructure support: TrapBag barriers can stabilize bridges, roads, dams, and other forms of infrastructure during floods and storms, mitigating extensive damage, expensive repairs, and loss of employment. This is especially important in areas working towards economic development.
- Flood barriers: When rainfall is exceptionally intense, TrapBag flood barriers can divert the damaging flow of water away from at-risk areas like farmland and infrastructure. TrapBags can also be arranged as a seawall alternative, providing necessary protection to coastal communities experiencing tropical cyclones or rising sea levels.
- Erosion control: Extreme winds, rising water levels, drought, earthquakes, and landslides can destabilize land. TrapBag barriers offer incredible protection from erosion, ensuring property values do not drastically decline, and the ecosystem stays intact.
- Stormwater containment: Contaminated runoff occurs when floodwaters accumulate debris from roadways and landfills. If not properly handled, this toxic water can destroy land and pollute water sources, which would be extremely detrimental in areas already plagued by drought. TrapBag stormwater detention basins help keep the inhabitants and environment safe and healthy.
- Diversion walls: Displaced earth can smash into buildings and homes during landslides, injuring people and causing huge amounts of structural damage. TrapBags can be filled with concrete to build incredibly sturdy protective walls that block and divert debris, saving millions of people from facing displacement.
- Dams: Effective dams are essential in preventing catastrophic flooding. TrapBags block and redirect water, saving lives as well as saving communities from costly, difficult-to-fund repairs.
- Levees: Levees are water barriers that prevent floodwaters from infiltrating elevated surfaces, like roadways and agricultural plots. TrapBags leak-proof structures make them the ideal solution to save high-value crops, like rice.
- Spill control: Chemical and/or oil spills, like stormwater runoff, can be extremely detrimental to the environment, especially agricultural plots. Due to their incredible strength and durability, TrapBags are a great solution to retaining toxic chemicals.
Beneficial Properties of TrapBags
TrapBag barriers are superior forms of protection and prevention during natural disasters, as they are:
- Versatile: TrapBags can be filled with a variety of substances including sand, washed gravel, and concrete. They can create many types of structures, as well as offer support during many forms of natural disasters.
- Durable and dependable: The exterior strength of TrapBags, along with the leakproof, accordion structure, makes them extremely reliable forms of protective and preventive barriers.
- Easily installed: Many forms of effective flood protection are difficult to deploy—TrapBags are not. They do not require heavy machinery to be placed, and can easily be arranged on a variety of landscapes, whether it is flat or sloped, making them optimal for mountainous areas of Asia.
- Quick to deploy: Natural disasters can happen quickly. TrapBags are rapidly deployable, offering a quick and strong form of protection.
Use TrapBags for Protection from Natural Disasters
Deadly, costly natural disasters occur every year, and no country is free from the wrath of weather events exacerbated by climate change. Utilize TrapBags for all of your prevention and protection needs.