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Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake Research Paper


A tsunami is a wave in the ocean caused by an earthquake, which occurs on the ocean floor. The waves created in the ocean are different from normal waves because of their long wavelengths and devastating force. The distance between each crest can range from 10-100km, and normally travel at 700km/h.

When a tsunami occurs, it is difficult to determine its lethal capacity based on height because the height of a wave is dependent on the depth of the ocean floor. The telltale signs of a tsunami are usually indicated by a fall of the sea level owing to rupture of the earth’s crust. The response time upon the prediction of a tsunami is minimal owing to the rapid fall and rise of the sea level (Abbott 56).

It is challenging for modern instruments to predict the occurrence of a tsunami owing to their resemblance to normal waves. Therefore, it is difficult for authorities to fully prepare for devastating effects associated with tsunamis. As the waves advance towards the shore, the rear and front part of the wave couple-up as it grows in height. The process of a gradual increase in height is facilitated by shallow shores, which offer a proper surface for the increase in wave height.

The energy possessed in a tsunami originates from deep ocean regions where a large amount of water is displaced. Currently, there is no reliable technology, which can forecast the occurrence of a tsunami at a particular time. One of the factors that lead to a tsunami is an earthquake that occurs through the displacement of the crust in vertical lines.

Second, landslides on the ocean floors cause a small-scale tsunami, which also results from an earthquake. Third, volcanic eruptions on the sea bed cause displacement of water leading to the tsunami. Additionally, in rare cases, the impact of meteorites can lead to sufficient displacement of water; thus, causing the occurrence of a tsunami (Abbott 63).

Japan is one of the countries in the world that experience the devastating effects of a tsunami. In 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 hit the region off the coast of Japan generating immense energy. Waves observed on the shore reached a height of 38 meters causing dire consequences such as numerous deaths, property damage, and injuries. The tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leading to a high-level alert.

The destruction of the nuclear plant led to massive evacuations in a 30km radius. Over 400,000 people were displaced at the onset of the disaster leading to a rapid government response to relocate people into new houses. In 2013, an estimated 15, 882 were confirmed dead, and about 3,000 individuals were reported missing. The government has made significant progress in moving people to cordoned-off areas as of April 2012 (“Haiti Earthquake Fast Facts” par. 2).

The government put in place a budget of $231 billion to aid in the recovery process in a 10-year period. Two years after the disaster, the government has put in place recovery measures such as constructing new infrastructure, disposing of tsunami debris, kick-starting crippled industries, and installing new disaster preparedness measures.

The current population of Japan stands at 127.3 million people, and it is projected to fall to 100.6 million people owing to low fertility rates in the country. Other disasters such as typhoons are likely to hit Japan since the country consists of a number of islands. The most recent was the Typhoon Bolaven, which stuck in 2012 killing 59 people when the population stood at 127.6 million (“Haiti Earthquake Fast Facts” par. 3).


Hurricanes are at times referred to as tropical cyclones, which develop in the oceans as they advance toward the land. Hurricanes are caused by warm air currents over the oceans where they generate their energy. They are usually formed in tropical oceans and have a characteristic counter-clockwise motion. These natural occurrences have massive energy with wind speeds topping 350km/h, but the speeds normally dwindle as they advance towards the shore. It has a devastating effect due to its massive diameter covering up to 600km (Abbott 178).

Hurricanes normally have a characteristic circular motion around the eye, which represents the midpoint of the tropical cyclone. Before the incorporation of modern weather forecast measures, hurricanes were predicted through the changes in wind patterns. However, due to technological advances, hurricanes can be predicted and monitored long before they strike land.

The effects of hurricanes can be regulated; hence, people can be instructed to relocate to safer areas. Meteorologists often classify hurricanes based on their energy capacity. Category 1 and 2 represent the weakest hurricanes while 4 and 4 are the strongest (Abbott 184).

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale

Type Wind Speed Pressure
Category 1 120-155 >980
Category 2 155-178 965-979
Category 3 179-210 945-964
Category 4 210-250 920-944
Category 5 >250 <920

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States after its gradual development to become a tropical storm. The category three storm had winds reaching 140 miles per hour. The resulting consequences of the storm were catastrophic, causing damages of up to $100 billion.

New Orleans was extremely susceptible to this tropical storm owing to its elevation of 6 feet below the sea level. Evacuation notices were issued by the authorities in New Orleans, but some citizens did not have access to cars. Individuals who lacked vehicles sought shelter in the Superdome (“Hurricane Katrina Statistics Fast Facts” par. 3).

The effect of Katrina hit parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, but its tragic consequences occurred in New Orleans. The hurricane left in its wake 2,000 fatalities, and hundreds of thousands displaced individuals. The government swung into action to aid in the recovery process of the damage caused in a number of states.

Insurance companies forked out an estimated $41.1 billion to compensate the affected property owners. Hurricane Katrina is considered as the most expensive insurance payout in history. Additionally, the National Flood Insurance also compensated a staggering $16.1 billion to the people affected in the hit states (“Hurricane Katrina Statistics Fast Facts” par. 4).

The hurricane displaced over a million people in the Gulf Coast. In the aftermath of the hurricane, the federal government used $120.5 billion in relief services to the affected individuals who lacked shelter. The current population of New Orleans stands at 378715, and it is expected to rise gradually in the future.

Hurricane Katrina had a negative effect on the population. For instance, the population was 484, 674 in 2000 but dropped to 230, 172 in 2006 due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Moreover, the United States faces other disasters such as tornados, which also cause catastrophic results. The population figures clearly indicate the effects of natural disasters on population levels (“Hurricane Katrina Statistics Fast Facts” par. 5).


Earthquakes are described as rapid and unpredictable shift of the earth’s crust caused by the movement of the mantle. The mantle is molten in nature, exhibiting constant circulatory movements, which indicate that the earth reforms its surface. The conventional movement of the mantle causes the crust to slide; hence, causing plate tectonics.

The earth is made up of seven major tectonic plates, which move in different directions depending on the circulation in the mantle. Earthquakes occur at the boundary of these tectonic plates leading to catastrophic effects. Earthquakes are known to trigger landslides, tsunamis, and volcanoes (Abbott 132).

The prediction of an impending earthquake aims to establish its location, date, and the magnitude. An earthquake precursor is an evident sign that indicates an impending earthquake. In the past, animal behavior was an effective sign of an earthquake, but this warning came just a few seconds before the occurrence of the earthquake.

Radon emissions also indicate an impending earthquake, whereby movement of the crust results in the release of gas into the atmosphere. Nowadays, geologists can predict the occurrence of earthquakes hours beforehand through the measurement of electro-magnetic variations (Abbott 136).

In 2010, an earthquake occurred in Haiti affecting nearly 3.5 million people. The capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince was extremely affected by the tragedy whereby 2.8 million people were displaced by the earthquake. The aftermath of the earthquake was fatal with the Haitian Government suggesting that the quake killed 222, 570 people and injured a further 300, 572 people. Additionally, nearly 200, 000 houses were damaged by the catastrophe.

Most government buildings were also destroyed in the disaster; thus, causing administrative issues at the time of the earthquake. Losses incurred after the earthquake stood at $7.8 billion, which surpasses Haiti’s gross domestic product. It is estimated that 172,000 people remain internally displaced, and they live in government camps up to date.

People live in deplorable conditions in the camps lacking basic amenities such as clean water and health services. In 2013, waterborne diseases such as cholera claimed the lives of 9,000 people in living in the camps. The international community responded to alleviate the situation whereby the USAID contributed $450 million (“2011 Japan Earthquake – Tsunami Fast Facts” par. 3).

The recovery process was initiated by President Obama, who pledged to raise funds, which would be used for the reconstruction of roads and re-establish a working government. Several organizations and countries pooled their resources to rescue the situation.

For instance, Homeland Security offered to engage in the construction of sturdy buildings, which can withstand future quakes. It took long for the situation to normalize given massive damages in the city. In 2013, some progress was noted whereby people began moving out of the camps into stable communities (“2011 Japan Earthquake – Tsunami Fast Facts” par. 6).

The current population of Haiti stands at 10.3 million. It is noteworthy that disasters often lead to long-term population increase due to setbacks in government management strategies such as family planning. There are other natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes, and tropical storms, which are likely to occur in Haiti.

A disaster that occurred in recent history was the torrential rains of 2004, which resulted in the death of nearly 1,300 people. It is projected that the population of Haiti will rise in the future as a result of constant disruption in development.

Works Cited

– Tsunami Fast Facts 2014.

Abbott, Patrick Leon. Natural Disasters. Boston: McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. Print.



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"Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake." IvyPanda, 27 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/natural-disasters-tsunami-hurricanes-and-earthquake/.

1. IvyPanda. "Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/natural-disasters-tsunami-hurricanes-and-earthquake/.


IvyPanda. "Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/natural-disasters-tsunami-hurricanes-and-earthquake/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/natural-disasters-tsunami-hurricanes-and-earthquake/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Natural Disasters: Tsunami, Hurricanes and Earthquake'. 27 March.

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