Almost weekly, the international media is filled with stories about a natural disaster making an immediate and negative impact on a specific community. Yet while we often let these occurrences slip to the back of our minds, the lasting effects on ground zero of the disasters can often have devastating consequences for years to come. Potential problems range from spilled chemicals to disease to resource contamination. Below are a few examples of the ongoing and possibly everlasting damages associated with natural disasters.
One of the lingering detrimental effects of a disaster is the psychological problems and disorders that can ensue. Depending on the nature and severity of the disaster, psychological problems can range from short-term depression over the loss of homes or communities to posttraumatic stress disorder that can last a lifetime.
Some of the most common types of diseases appearing in communities affected by natural disasters come from a contaminated water source providing drinking water for a large segment of the population. In many types of natural disasters, water sources can become compromised and many affected individuals may succumb to specific diseases, such as giardia or E. Coli. Additionally, because sewage often ends up in the communal water supplies from the destruction of proper disposal routes, some people may even contract Hepatitis.
Vector Borne Diseases
Vector borne diseases, caused from infectious microbes transmitted through insects, are present in the aftermath of many types of natural disasters. Because of the strength of certain natural disasters, such as cyclones, tsunamis, hurricanes, and even tropical storms, the breeding grounds of insects are often washed away and temporarily eliminated, reducing initial concern about these types of infections.
Once the existing water becomes stagnant though, and no efforts are taken to replace contaminated drinking water, these pools become the perfect breeding ground for arthropods, specifically mosquitoes, which can easily transmit diseases to a large portion of the population. Malaria and dengue, two types of fever that run rampant in the Pacific Islands, are the most common diseases to appear after a natural disaster.
Long Term Economic Effects
While many physical problems are often caused by natural disasters, the list doesn’t stop there, with economic problems also appearing rather frequently. Because natural disasters have the ability to destroy whole communities, towns, and even cities, large amounts of capital must be used to fuel the rebuilding effort, money that might have been originally earmarked for a different purpose.
The Aftermath of Natural Disasters
While the images of natural disasters presented by news sources give us an idea of the initial destruction, the devastation after a natural disaster often continues for months, if not years. And while certain issues may last for only weeks or months, others may linger indefinitely, and become ever-present staples of the communities forever. Communities often struggle to replace damaged infrastructure — including office buildings, hospitals, homes, and energy facilities — particularly if the natural disaster happened to strike a relatively poor or impoverished area.
Desmond Bellamy is a freelance health & medical science blogger based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Desmond knows that exposure to asbestos has significant negative implications, which is why he strongly recommends that affected persons obtain qualified counsel in order to obtain compensation for asbestos exposure.