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It should be noted that the earthquakes that occurred in Haiti and Nepal have affected not only the well-being of the population but also the environmental health of these areas. Consequences and effects were varied, and some of them were short-terms while many of them were long-term and required heavy investments from the side of the government and respective agencies. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the major environmental health concerns following these earthquakes and compare those with the possible consequences that could follow if the disaster outburst in the US.
Such aspects as the quality of air and water, food safety, housing, and emergency preparedness are the main environmental health concerns that have arisen as a consequence of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2015. Despite the preventive measures employed in these countries, severe damage occurred to the infrastructure. Also, human health was affected extensively with both immediate and long-term consequences (Johnson & Lichtveld, 2017). As applied to the environment in these countries, roads were disrupted and, in some parts of the area, people could not be provided with the necessary amounts of food and drinking water.
Apart from that, electrical blackouts and shortages occurred in both countries due to electrical service being interrupted. These earthquakes completely destroyed or severely damaged the homes of many people (Johnson & Lichtveld, 2017). Houses that withstood the avalanche and the natural disaster faced numerous issues that could not be addressed immediately, which implied that many people had to abandon their homes and live in shelters. Some of the major problems included structural damage to the construction of houses and contamination with dirt, dust, and mud.
Extensive damage to houses and buildings resulted in deaths from physical trauma and head injuries. When buildings collapsed, many people were trapped inside, which lead to severe traumatization and preventable wounds. People, who were successfully evacuated to shelters, were exposed to other threats such as infectious diseases (Johnson & Lichtveld, 2017). Given the number of individuals residing in relief shelters, the danger of influenza epidemics became another health-related concern. Moreover, as a result of the two earthquakes, a lot of commodities and nutrition stored in warehouses started to rot, and the decomposing debris posed a threat of pest infestations.
If an earthquake of a similar magnitude occurred in the United States, the environmental concerns would be somewhat different from those experienced in Nepal and Haiti. It is crucial to stress that the US invests heavily in preventive measures to minimize the effects of earthquakes and other natural disasters as much as possible. Buildings are constructed in such a way so that they can withstand earthquakes of different magnitudes (Johnson & Lichtveld, 2017).
Nevertheless, the consequences would be similar in so that many rural and urban territories (including industrial zones) may be severely damaged causing air and water pollution. The destruction of roads and railroads would result in disrupted relief efforts (Johnson & Lichtveld, 2017). In some parts of the US, it is quite possible that a local tsunami may outburst causing mold and mildew growth in houses and constructions. However, most importantly, the US is dependent on nuclear power. The destruction of nuclear plants will not only cause the loss of commercial reactors but also result in radiation releases that will pose a threat to environmental health and the well-being of the population.
Thus, it can be concluded that the major environmental concerns connected with the earthquakes that happened in Nepal and Haiti are air and water quality, infectious disease prevention, healthy housing, and so on. If an earthquake of a similar magnitude occurred in the US, the effects on the environment would be a bit different. The housing would be affected less due to the construction techniques used; nevertheless, some of the greatest concerns would be air and water contamination and possible radiation releases.
Johnson, B. L., & Lichtveld, M. Y. (2017). Environmental policy and public health (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.