What Are Natural Disasters?
Natural disasters are severe weather events that have dangerous and costly repercussions for the people, environment, and structural property of an affected area. These extreme occurrences of weather can be deadly and financially devastating to a community, demolishing expensive infrastructure, homes, and land.
Natural disasters are incredibly detrimental to all parts of the world, especially island countries. Many island natives are at risk of their quality of life-changing, or losing their homes altogether, as these areas can be less likely and more difficult to rebuild post-disaster. To make matters worse, many countries in the Caribbean greatly suffer from an economic perspective following natural disasters.
Natural Disaster Prevention Is Necessary
Agriculture production is a way of life for many Caribbean countries. The lack of durable protective measures, like flood barriers, can leave farmland demolished following extreme bouts of rain.
Many island communities heavily rely on the tourism industry—in 2020, Caribbean tourism added $24 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. Without effective, affordable protective measures in place, natural disasters can greatly impact the revenue these island communities see, as hotels, attractions, and the overall environment are demolished.
Types of Natural Disasters in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is comprised of many islands, municipalities, and boundary nations. Despite the abundance of great weather the Caribbean regions experience, it still is under threat from natural hazards.
Natural Disasters in the Caribbean Islands
The 13 counties of the Caribbean include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. These places can all experience:
- Hurricanes: Caribbean countries are located in the Atlantic Region, which is prone to producing many hurricanes every year—June to December is hurricane season in the Caribbean. Between 2019 and 2020, the Caribbean islands faced nine category 3+ hurricanes. Large storms such as these can devastate homes, infrastructure, and economies. Durable flood protection is crucial to mitigating flood damage.
- Earthquakes: Many Caribbean countries are located along active fault lines, including the Virgin Islands, Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Many earthquakes of varying intensities regularly occur. Strong forms of protection, like TrapBags, can help to stabilize nearby structures, preventing expensive and dangerous damages from occurring.
- Landslides: Severe weather and flash floods can weaken land, causing rocks to detach and fall, and land and mud to gain traction as it tumbles—this is dangerous to surrounding life, eroding to the environment, and can incur expensive repairs for nearby structures. In 2018, flooding and landslides claimed the lives of four and displaced at least 4,000 people in Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
- Floods: Island countries, especially those that are low-lying, are extremely susceptible to experiencing the effects of extreme floods. In 2021, heavy rainfall in Barbados left parts of the country underwater.
Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters in the Caribbean
There are a variety of natural and manmade causes for natural disasters as well as a plethora of damaging effects to the environment, life, and infrastructure.
- 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. The land is often cleared for local agricultural purposes, and property development, which is used to increase tourism capabilities.
- 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: Our planet is continually warming, which increases the temperature of the ocean as well as water levels. These factors impact the likelihood of unstable and extreme weather patterns, like hurricanes and tsunamis. The Caribbean Islands are extremely vulnerable to these issues.
- Movement in the Earth’s crust: Seismic activity, like the natural shifting of tectonic plates, can induce earthquakes, sinkholes, and tsunamis.
- Changing ocean currents: When ocean currents change, the water can become warmer, providing the perfect conditions for a tropical storm.
- Loss of life: In 2019, category five Hurricane Dorian claimed the lives of at least 74 people.
- 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. Erratic rainfall patterns are causing more dry days to occur in the Caribbean.
- Erosion: Floods, high winds, landslides, and earthquakes can devastate land that many people in the Caribbean rely on for agricultural purposes.
- 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 2019, it was reported than Caribbean islands were experiencing huge increases in children being displaced due to severe storms.
- Public property damage: Without effective protection in place, all infrastructure is at risk when it comes to natural disasters. Schools, bridges, public transit, factories, and roadways can all become damaged or collapse as a result of high winds, flooding, and landslides.
- Private property damage: In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian destroyed over $7 billion worth of structures.
- Economic loss: Hurricanes are the greatest reason for natural disaster-related losses in the Caribbean. In 2017, Hurricane Maria caused over $68 billion in damages to Caribbean islands.
- How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster
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.
- 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
To mitigate the damage extreme weather events can have on a community, effective barriers, like TrapBags, are essential.
- 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.
- Dams: Reliable dams are crucial in the event of natural disaster-induced flooding. TrapBags can be arranged to block and redirect water, saving communities costly repairs later.
- 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: TrapBag stormwater detention basins help keep the people and their environment safe during and after storms. 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.
- 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.
- Levees: Levees are water barriers that prevent floodwaters from infiltrating elevated surfaces, like roadways and agricultural plots. The leak-proof structure of TrapBags makes them the ideal solution for protecting people and property.
- 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. These forms of flood bags can create many types of structures, as well as offer support during many forms of natural disasters.
- Durable and dependable: The geotextiles utilized to create TrapBags give them incredible exterior strength. Along with their leakproof, accordion structure they are extremely reliable forms of protective and preventive barriers when Caribbean hurricanes strike.
- 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.
- Quick to deploy: Natural disasters can happen quickly. TrapBags are rapidly deployable, offering a quick and strong form of protection during Caribbean floods.
- Reuseable: Post-deployment, TrapBags have a lifespan of five years. After being used as a temporary solution for one problem, they can be easily stored and reused in the future.
Use TrapBags for Protection from Natural Disasters
Extreme, dangerous, and costly natural disasters happen every year. Hurricanes, heavy rainstorms, flooding, earthquakes, and landslides can destroy communities. Protect yours with TrapBags—our barriers are ideal for all of your prevention and protection needs.