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Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) community is prone to several natural disasters. However, in this region, no disaster stands out as a Tornado disaster. Since IUB is located in Indiana, it runs the risk of being hit by a tornado.
History shows that, Indiana has witnessed some of the worst tornados in America (the occurrence of some of these disasters date back to 1814) (US Government 3). However, there is no proper documentation to show the severity of such tornadoes during the ancient days. Nonetheless, the worst tornado to be documented happened in April, 1965 (US Government 3).
During this time, there were more than ten tornadoes reported within 24 hours (and several lesser storms within the same period). The number of fatalities from this tornado was reported to be 137 people. The financial loss was estimated at over $70 million in private property and close to $14 million in public property (US Government 3). These tornadoes were extensive because they also struck three other states (Chicago, Ohio and Michigan).
Indiana was also hit by another tornado in 1925 where more than 70 casualties were reported in Southwest Indiana. Posey County accounted for most deaths because more than 50 people died in the area. The entire town was almost flattened by the tornado. Griffin town lost 150 homes, leaving many residents homeless (US Government 4). Close to $2 million in financial losses were reported.
In 1974, Indiana was a victim to another set of storms (149 tornadoes) which hit more than 39 counties. Of the 149 tornadoes, 29 of them hit Indiana, destroying property and claiming lives in the 39 counties. There were more than 1,000 people admitted to state hospitals (with storm-related casualties) while more than 40 people died in the storms (US Government 4).
The total financial loss was estimated to be $100 million. This tornado was also reported to be the worst in the US (US Government 4). Similar tornados hit Indiana in 1990 (again). There were a total of 37 tornados that ripped through 31 countries claiming at least eight lives.
In 2002, Indiana was hit by severe storms that ravaged through 32 counties. The total financial loss from this disaster was estimated to be (close) to ten million dollars. Based on these statistics, this paper observes that the IUB community runs the risk of suffering a tornado because the US Government (4) indicates that, tornados can hit any part of Indiana (at any degree).
IUB is highly vulnerable to tornado disasters because of its high concentration of people. Tornado disasters tend to have a strong human toll in areas that are highly populated and therefore, IUB poses such a danger because it is highly concentrated with students, staff, visitors and other human populations (US Government 4).
If a tornado strikes the community, the human death toll is likely to be high. Low death tolls may be reported in areas with scattered human populations.
The IUB community is also vulnerable to tornadoes because it has a high concentration of buildings and lifeline utilities.
This high concentration of infrastructure is likely to increase the level of damages (financial or otherwise) because a destruction of many buildings is likely to result in higher human deaths and more financial losses. A destruction of lifeline utilities is also likely to disrupt the lives of many IUB inhabitants.
Considering tornados are unpredictable, and often occur in varying degrees, IUB is also vulnerable to the fact that, it is susceptible to a natural disaster that is difficult to prevent (or predict). In fact, the best way to protect people is to vacate the area (US Government 4).
If buildings and facilities (in IUB) were destroyed in a tornado disaster, such a calamity would disrupt learning activities. Furthermore, considering IUB is an important educational center, the aftermath of a tornado would significantly affect the state’s education system.
Compared to other communities, IUB is located in a high risk area (Indiana) which is ranked the 15th most dangerous state for its frequency of tornados (Disaster Center 1). Indiana is also ranked the sixth most dangerous state for having the highest number of deaths, and seventh most dangerous state for having the highest number of storm-related casualties in the US (Disaster Center 1).
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IUB community is therefore subject to these statistics, and it is even at a greater risk of harm because Indiana is ranked seventh for having the highest frequency of tornados per square mile (in the US). The state is also ranked number three for deaths and number four for injuries per square area (Disaster Center 1).
These statistics increase the probability that, IUB community may suffer repeated episodes of tornado disasters.
In 1950-1995 alone, the state of Indiana witnessed 897 tornadoes. It is estimated that, the risk of fatalities occurring in Indiana is one in 1,057,885 (annually) (Disaster Center 1).
Based on this statistic, the likelihood of reporting many fatalities in the IUB community is low, but the probability of injuries occurring is higher because it is estimated that, the probability of storm-related injuries occurring (in Indiana) is one in 63,791(Disaster Center 1).
The probability of IUB community members experiencing financial losses is even higher because it is estimated that, every person is likely to incur a loss of $7.06 annually from tornado disasters (Disaster Center 1).
Personal Action Plan
If a tornado occurs, time is of the essence. Every safety precaution which has to be undertaken should be done within the shortest time possible. However, since most tornados are predicted (or residents have an idea that it may happen), it is important to stock some personal items which may be useful if a tornado occurs.
These items are: a flashlight (with extra batteries), portable radio (with extra batteries), first aid kit and manual, emergency food and water, non-electric can opener, essential medicines, cash and credit cards, and sturdy shoes (Lorenzo City Hall 1).
These items will help in sustaining oneself during and after a tornado. It is highly likely that if one misses these items, the probability of holding on to life (during) and after a tornado is low. These items are therefore useful in reducing the probability of death.
The second measure I would take is to go to a designated shelter or the basement of the lowest-level building in the campus so that I do not suffer the risk of injury or death resulting from falling structures (and the likes).
If I am in a place with wide-spanned roofs (such as the school auditorium, cafeteria or library), I would vacate such places and go to safer buildings (SGIA 1). In a safe building, I would take shelter under a strong piece of furniture (such as a table) so that I am shielded from falling or crashing objects.
As a personal safety measure, I would also strive to protect my neck and head always. These are the most sensitive parts of my body and therefore, I should not risk suffering any damages on these places. This way, I will reduce the chances of death.
Indiana University is an integral component of the Bloomington community. In this regard, any disaster at the university is likely to affect the entire Bloomington community. Consequently, the city’s progress and its future, is likely to be impacted by any disaster. This paper observes that, the IUB community is located in a high-risk area that is prone to tornadoes.
Statistics show that, Indiana has been hit by different tornados across a span of centuries. There has been no let-up in the human and financial toll brought about by these disasters.
Several deaths and injuries have been reported over the years and cumulatively, Indiana State has recorded a financial loss of $1,650,232,576.00 (Disaster Center 3). Based on these statistics, IUB community should be wary of tornadoes because the above losses are eminent.
Though some areas of Indiana suffer a higher risk of tornadoes, this paper notes that, any zone of the state is a high risk area because tornadoes can strike anywhere. Already, we have seen that the IUB community is extremely vulnerable to a tornado disaster because it has a strong population exposure.
This paper also observes that, IUB’s infrastructural concentration also makes it more vulnerable to the severity of tornados because the financial loss of a tornado may be extremely high.
The concentration of many buildings within one location does not make the situation any better. Considering such odds, this paper recommends the formulation of a disaster emergency plan for the IUB community against tornadoes.
Disaster Center. Indiana Tornadoes. Nd. 2011. Web. <http://www.disastercenter.com/indiana/tornado.html>
Lorenzo City Hall. Tornado Action Plan. Nd. 2002. Web.
SGIA. Sample Tornado Preparedness Emergency Action Plan. Nd. 2011. Web.
US Government. Tornado History. Nd. 2011. Web. <http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/Chapter_3_Risk_Assessment_c.pdf>