Monday, May 2, 2011

2010 in review

Here is a fact that may make shout "Jiminy Cricket!"...almost 300 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2010!
Here is a list of the more major disasters in 2010:

  • Haiti-earthquake
  • Chile-earthquake
  • Iceland-Eyjafjallaj√∂kull volcano spewing ash
  • Russia-wildfires
  • Pakistan-flooding
  • China-flooding
The article that I read was concerned with the response due to some of these disasters and how the US communicated them.  For example, 130 million Chinese alone were affected by the worst flooding in recent history.  However, the floods received very little international attention.  Far less than either Pakistan and Haiti, which combined, was five times less than the amount of people affected by the flooding in China.  The article points out that one of the dilemmas in response to natural disasters, is that even major ones, receive significantly diverging media coverage (Ferris, 2011).  Very little international assistance was given or requested in response to the flooding in China.

This article suggests a lack of good science communication.  Response to natural disasters should not vary so much as the example, especially when China was a very significant disaster.  I think that part of reason why the flooding in China was not well communicated is that China is a different government than the United States and most other countries and didn't want to speak much about the event with them.  They are very independent.  This is just a speculation however.  

1 comment:

  1. Interesting--so you're suggesting that the way we view and respond to disasters is dependent on social and political context? Could have important repercussions for thinking about disasters in relation to developed v. developing countries. I wonder if we'll see developed, democratic countries able to be more resilient to natural disasters (though Katrina maybe casts some doubt on that).

    How do these numbers compare to previous years? Have we just been very unlucky lately?