Although Sri Lanka holds a thirty-year record of the word’s least safe place with the greatest number of natural disasters per year, it still remains a place beloved and inhabited by an entire nation. Therefore, it is necessary to take a look at the disaster statistics, especially their frequency and impact on people’s lives in Sri Lanka. Below is the key information concerning natural disasters in Sri Lanka in 1980–2010:
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|Type of Disaster||Number of Occurrences||Average Disaster per year|
|Flood (Wickramaratne 115)||33||1.45|
|Cyclone (Zubair 303)||3||0.10|
|Mass movement wet||1||0.02|
|Tsunami (Ruddock 217)||1||0.02|
Judging by the information provided above, floods are the major problem in Sri Lanka. The given phenomenon is quite predictable, given the specifics of the Sri Lanka geographical location and river structure. If considering the Sri Lanka river map, one will see distinctly that the surface of Sri Lanka is mostly flat.
Hence, it will be reasonable to choose here specific disasters to analyze them and compare them with the rest of the catastrophes that have taken place in the state so far since the 1980s. To make the analysis more objective, it will be necessary to consider different disasters, e.g., a flood, an earthquake, and a drought.
Considering the table above, one will find out easily that over the past three decades, floods have been the major problem in Sri Lanka. Reaching the number of 33, they have become more numerous than any other disaster that occurred in Sri Lanka over the past thirty years. Oddly enough, drought comes as a close second in this list, peaking to nine accidents over around thirty years.
While the floods can be explained by a large river system and the relatively low above-sea-level of the island, the drought might seem rather a rare occurrence in the place where floods are frequent. However, drought can be explained by the fact that the island has a warm climate, and, therefore, does not have enough precipitation.
While the floods come as a result of river floods during the rain seasons, droughts are caused by the very dry and very warm climate. The last, but not the least, earthquakes, or, to be more exact, the earthquake that was registered only once over the course of 30 years, can be considered the result of the tectonic movement (Wijetunge 207).
According to the recent researches, the tectonic scenario around Sri Lanka shows that the isle is predisposed to suffering from earthquakes (Mulligan and Nadarajah 353), which means that the only possible way to save the local population is to instruct people on the actions that must be undertaken in case of an earthquake.
As one can observe in the analysis above, there are considerable differences in the disaster statistics arranged by the year when they occurred, the type of disaster and its intensity. According to the existing researches, these discrepancies in the disaster statistics can be explained scientifically. As it has been mentioned above, the floods frequency owes much to the specific river system of the isle, while droughts are the result of little precipitation.
Landslides can be explained by both active tectonic processes and the specifics of the rock. Cyclones and storms, which are actually results of the difference in pressure, seem to occur only when the Sri-Lankan tropic climate takes its roll over the island and the storm is formed around the low-pressure center. Finally, the mass movement wet seems to share its nature with Sri-Lankan earthquakes.
Mulligan, M. & Nadarajah, Y. (2012). Rebuilding the community in the wake of disaster: Lessons from the recovery from the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka and India. Community Development Journal, 47(3), 353–368.
Ruddock, L. (2012) Post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka: Assessing the economic impact. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 14(3): 217–230.
Wickramaratne, S. et al. (2012). Ranking of natural disasters in Sri Lanka for migration planning. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 3(2), 115–132.
Wijetunge, J. (2010). Assessment of potential tsunamigenic seismic hazard to Sri Lanka. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 1(2), 207–220. Print.
Zubair, L. (2004). May 2003 disaster in Sri Lanka and cyclone 01-B in the Bay of Bengal. Natural Hazards, 33, 303–318.