Catastrophic TsunamisWhen they strike, catastrophic tsunamis claim numerous lives and cause horrific damage. A tsunami occurs when energy is transferred from the earth into water, resulting in large waves reaching heights of hundreds of feet. They can be triggered by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. Moreover, tsunamis travel up to 500 miles. And most tsunamis occur within the Pacific Ocean. While this natural disaster only occurs twice a year on average, the impact is colossal. Listed below are 10 famous tsunamis that everyone should know about.

10 Most Catastrophic Tsunamis

  1. Indian Ocean
    In 2004, the world saw one of the most catastrophic tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake caused the ocean floor to rise a shocking 40 meters, with waves rising heights of hundreds of feet. Consequently, the fault line covered 900 miles and touched the shores of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. Unfortunately, this tsunami led to the death of approximately 230,000 people and caused $10 million worth of damage.
  2. North-Pacific Coast, Japan
    One of perhaps the most catastrophic tsunamis hit the North-Pacific coast of Japan in 2011. After a 9.1 earthquake occurred just miles off the coast, an alert went out warning locals to find safety. This was the largest earthquake in Japanese history and the fourth largest in the world. Moreover, local nuclear power plants worsened the situation, as one plant cooled down and melted from the water. Ultimately, this led to four days of continuous radiation that required two weeks of clean up.
  3. Portugal and Morocco
    In 1755, an unexpected earthquake hit Lisbon on All Saints Day. Consequently, most people were in church when the tsunami arrived. The waves killed between 60,000 to 100,000 people along the coasts of Portugal and Morocco. Shockingly, some of the debris from Lisbon traveled as far as the Caribbean. As one of the most catastrophic tsunamis in European history, this disaster remains a pivotal point in European history, as seen in subsequent artwork and philosophy of the time.
  4. Messina, Italy
    In 1908, the small town of Messina suffered a 7.5 magnitude and subsequently a tsunami. With waves as high as 40 feet, this tsunami devastated the land of the agricultural community. Thus, many people relocated after the disaster. Most people immigrated across Italy, however, some traveled as far as the U.S.
  5. Krakatau, Indonesia
    While earthquakes usually cause tsunamis, a volcanic eruption caused the tsunami of 1883 in Indonesia. The eruption of the Krakatau Volcano led to a tsunami, with waves extending as high as 98 feet. Surges from the tsunami lasted approximately 29 to 30 hours and reached as far as New Zealand.
  6. Southern Chile
    In 1960, the world’s largest earthquake occurred in the southern part of Chile. At a magnitude of 9.5, this earthquake had a global impact. Accordingly, waves from the resulting tsunami traveled as far north as the U.S., causing $23.5 million worth of damage in Hawaii. And in Japan, more than a day after the earthquake, tsunami surges caused 139 deaths. Overall, this tsunami left an estimated 2 million homeless in Chile.
  7. Sanriku, Japan
    Once again, Japan finds itself on the list of most catastrophic tsunamis. In 1896, an atrocious earthquake rocked Sanriku, Japan. Having had several minor earthquakes earlier that day, locals did not anticipate a tsunami. However, after an 8.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the surface, tsunamis waves crashed into the shore. At the time, no preventative measures were available to warn locals of the incoming tsunami and the disaster claimed 22,000 lives.
  8. Central Chile
    Like Japan, Chile commonly experiences from tsunamis. In 2010, an earthquake spanning 62 miles ruptured in central Chile. Approximately 12 million people felt the ground tremble. Shortly thereafter, a tsunami struck. This tsunami damaged, if not destroyed, 370,000 houses and 4,013 schools.
  9. Arica, Chile
    In 1868, Arica, Chile (then Peru) experience a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami. Subsequently, Chile makes the most catastrophic tsunamis list for the third time. Three naval ships were docked at the port city, of which only two crew members survived. Thirteen hours after the initial incident, waves hit New Zealand and caused damage to local harbors.
  10. Mount Unzen
    Like the case of Krakatau, this tsunami began when Mount Unzen erupted in 1792. Consequently, this led to an estimated 15,000 deaths. Interestingly, in 1990, the mountain began to release ashes.

While stories of catastrophic tsunamis seem frightening at first, there are preventative measures being implemented. For instance, starting in 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System has installed sensors in the ocean floorboards. Run by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group and Unesco, IOTWMS sensors detect incoming tsunamis and alert officials.

In addition, as scientists conduct more research on the history of tsunamis, they can better predict the likelihood of tsunamis in specific regions. Ultimately, while tsunamis are a powerful force, there is hope for improved prevention strategies in the future.

Photo: Flickr

On September 28, 2018, the poverty-riddled country of Indonesia experienced a deadly natural disaster. A 7.5 earthquake followed by a tsunami that produced waves of up to 6 meters tall hit the city of Palu killing hundreds. As search efforts to find survivors continued, many news outlets have called into question the effectiveness of Indonesia’s early disaster warning system.

The Tsunami in Indonesia

BBC News reported that a system of 21 buoys used to trigger the warning system based off of the data that they receive was inactive during the time of the tsunami. Gifted to Indonesia by a few generous countries after the last natural disaster, the buoys had either been vandalized or stolen. With a strict budget in place, Indonesia hasn’t been able to afford the cost of replacing the buoys or maintaining the remaining system they currently have in place. As a result of the unreliable warnings in regards to the size of the waves, many have perished.

When a natural disaster hits a country that already has problems with its infrastructure due to poverty, like Indonesia, it often causes far more deaths and inflicts a lot more damage. BBC News compared similar natural disasters in three countries and found that impoverished areas are more susceptible to the effects of natural disasters.

The Hurricanes in Puerto Rico

In 2017 Puerto Rico suffered back to back hurricanes that left the country with even fewer resources than it had before. With 40 percent of its population living below the poverty line, the ailing country was already crippled by debt, experiencing a lack of electricity and facing school shutdowns. Given the state of Puerto Rico’s poverty crisis prior to the disaster, the country was ill-prepared for the effect the hurricane would have on its crumbling infrastructure.

Puerto Rico’s disaster relief efforts have been both challenging and expensive given its previous state of affairs. The U.S. has offered $2 billion to fix Puerto Rico’s electric grid, but in order to fix the damage done before and after the hurricane, it would take $17 billion. Further financial resources would have to be given to restore Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and help it to withstand natural disaster threats in the future.

The Earthquake in Haiti

Before the 7.0 magnitude earthquake disrupted Haiti back in 2010, 72.1 percent of the Haitian population was living on $2 a day in cities with poorly constructed cramped housing. Dwindling funds in Haiti were met with cost-cutting measures that led to faulty building codes. The soil-based land on which Port au Prince was built was at the epicenter of the earthquake, which also contributed to the city’s imminent collapse. With a stronger magnitude earthquake than Haiti, China lost 87.5 thousand people while Haiti lost 230 thousand citizens.

The earthquake in Haiti made quick work of the poverty-stricken area of Port au Prince. Haiti received $13.5 billion in aid relief after the earthquake, but with the money, came the unforeseen side effect of disease. After stationing soldiers on the ground to provide relief after the earthquake, toxic waste was spilled into a Haitian river causing a severe outbreak of Cholera which has killed an additional 9,000 people over the last four years. Additional relief funds will need to be provided to treat the epidemic.

When natural disasters strike areas that have been weakened by poverty, it leads to more damage, more lives lost and far more money needed to fix the situation. In many of these instances, measures could have been taken to prevent mass casualties, especially in areas where natural disasters pose a significant threat. Investing in long-term infrastructure solutions and natural disaster prevention instead of just throwing funds at a problem for an immediate fix in poverty prone areas will save more lives.

Catherine Wilson
Photo: Flickr

tourism in Thailand
Thailand is a unique country that attracts over 32 million tourists each year. Tourism made up 20.6 percent of Thailand’s GDP in 2016 and supported about 6.1 percent of jobs. Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, was the most visited city in 2017. It is clear the tourism in Thailand is impacting the country.

Thailand’s 2004 Tsunami Recovery

Tourism both aided and hindered Thailand in its post-tsunami state. With a high need for jobs and funds, many luxury hotels were able to reopen within months. Unfortunately, some groups such as migrant workers had a difficult time receiving aid, if they even received any at all.

The event was also a catalyst for the marginalization of those in a lower socioeconomic status as many were barred from returning to their homes in popular tourist areas such as the beach. It is estimated that upwards of 10,000 were either prevented from returning or an attempt was made to prevent them from returning.

The Marginalized in Thailand

The country’s social bias against migrant workers, immigrants and refugees is one of Thailand’s biggest criticisms. People in these marginalized groups are at a legal disadvantage compared to Thai citizens. Migrant workers are at the will of their employer, needing a “termination and employer transfer form” (in other words, permission from their current employer) in order to switch jobs. Research by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2010 found 33 to 50 percent of employers in the fishing, domestic and manufacturing sector used this law to their advantage to prevent losing migrant workers as employees.

There are also multiple reports of migrant workers being punished by law in what seem like uncertain situations. One example is the fourteen migrant workers who filed a complaint against their employer for exploitation, thus damaging the company’s reputation. This resulted in the employer filing a lawsuit against the workers with potential consequences being imprisonment and fines. 

Another unfortunate example occurred in 2015 when two migrant workers from Myanmar were sentenced to death for the murder of two tourists; the case was marred by police misconduct such as the mishandling of evidence and the alleged torture of the workers. While it is difficult to find an exact number of migrant workers convicted of a crime in Thailand, it is becoming increasingly clear to the world that this is a human rights issue that needs to be addressed.

Sex Tourism in Thailand

Prostitution was outlawed in the 1960s, but Thailand still has a growing trade revolving around paid sex. There is no way to get a real number on those traveling for sex tourism in Thailand, but NGOs estimated 70 percent of male travelers were visiting specifically for the sex industry in 2013. Prostitution does not have a social stigma in Thailand like in other countries and many Thais have accepted it as part of the culture, creating growth in the industry despite questionable legalities.

Medical Tourism in Thailand

Many tourists travel to Thailand because of the low-cost medical treatment. In 2006, about 200,000 tourists traveled to Thailand explicitly for medical treatment. By 2011, that number rose to half a million.

According to insurance company Thai Expat Club, Thailand was third in the world as the most likely destination for health tourism in 2016. Many medical tourists are saving at least half of what they would pay in the US. Add on recovery by the beach or in a resort and it is no wonder Thailand has become the medical hub of Asia.

Tourism’s Impact on the Environment

With tourism in Thailand increasing, trash increases as well. Unfortunately, Thailand’s infrastructure has been unable to keep up. A common assessment has been waste left over from beach parties. It is estimated that Ko Phangan Full Moon beach parties leave about 12 tons of debris per day behind which mostly goes into landfills or the ocean.

Many groups are currently trying to highlight this issue which will hopefully create a springboard for biodegradable materials and other environmentally conscious decisions. Some of the organizations partnering with Thailand to address the waste issues are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which collaborates with Thailand to protect environmental laws, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which works on conservation within the country.

Tourism in Thailand is drawing in great opportunities such as growing jobs, a developing medical field and cultural awareness. However, there are some points of contention with prostitution, the waste problem and an increasing awareness of the marginalized in Thai society. Curbing environmental problems and working toward a more equal society will create a stronger Thailand and, ultimately, a stronger world.

– Natasha Komen
Photo: Flickr

Tsunamis have occurred frequently throughout human history. Although they
are seen in every ocean on Earth, 80 percent of the worst tsunamis occur in the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

As a tsunami wave approaches shallow water over land, the wave slows, causing the much quicker traveling water to pull up, extending the wave vertically. Reaching the shore, these waves can then be over 100 feet with multiple waves occurring in succession. Discussed below are the 10 worst tsunamis in history based on fatalities since the year 1700.


The 10 Worst Tsunamis in History

1. Indian Ocean Tsunami – The earthquake that caused the infamous Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 registered a 9.1 in magnitude and was said to have the energy of 23,000 atomic bombs. This extreme rupture caused massive tectonic plate movement, which caused other secondary faults to occur and expose an entirely new oceanic trench. These secondary faults elevated the height and speed of the generated waves.

According to some scientists, the amount of energy released was so great, the Earth’s rotation was slightly altered and wobbling of its axis occurred by 2.3 cm. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed more than 283,000 people. It produced waves 50 m tall and reached 14 countries. 

2. Messina, Italy Earthquake and Tsunami – On December 28, 1908, an earthquake, lasting for less than a minute, shook the cities of Messina and Reggio. The earthquake registered a 7.1 and caused severe damage to the cities. Only a few moments after the shaking, 12 meter tsunamis inundated nearby coastal areas, destroying almost all of the structures and killing 70,000 people. It was proposed that the tsunami was not caused by the earthquake itself, but rather by an undersea landslide which was caused by the earthquake. In total, 100,000 to 200,000 people lost their lives.

3. Portugal-Morocco Tsunami – The morning of All Saints Day in 1755, Lisbon, Portugal and its surrounding areas were ransacked by a nearly 9.0 earthquake which lasted for several minutes. The earthquake was felt in Africa, Greenland, all the way through Finland and in the Caribbean.

In the center of Lisbon, it opened fissures 15 feet wide. Survivors of the quake rushed to open spaces only to see the waters recede and reveal the sea floor. After 40 minutes, three large tsunami waves inundated the area, forcing people to flee for their lives. In other areas, fires engulfed buildings and raged for five days. The waves then spread out to many surrounding areas in the Atlantic Ocean, including Morocco, where an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives. The total life claim of the earthquake and tsunami was as much as 60,000 to 100,000 people.

4. Tsunami in South Chinese Sea, 1782 – The destructive force of this tsunami lands it on this list. It traveled 120 km into the Chinese mainland, killing over 40,000 people in the process. The tsunami itself was caused by a tectonic earthquake on the ocean floor and it destroyed many crops and farming areas. Other outside information concerning the damage done is unknown.

5. Krakatoa, Indonesia Tsunami – In a series of massive explosions accumulating over August 26-27 in 1883, the eruption of Krakatoa occurred. The sounds produced by this volcanic eruption are considered to be the loudest sounds ever heard in modern history, spreading 3,000 miles from the island chain. Three volcanic peaks erupted over that two day period, unleashing energy four times the strength of a Tsar Bomba (one of which is more than 13 times the force of the Hiroshima, Japan explosion). Devastating tsunamis then spread over the islands, killing an estimated almost 40,000 people.

6. Tokaido-Nankaido, Japan Tsunami – A earthquake of 8.4 magnitude which caused 25 meter waves to engulf the coastal regions of Kyushyu, Shikoku, Honshin and Osaka in 1707. The waves of the tsunami extended several kilometers inland and as many as a dozen occurred over a one hour period. A total of 30,000 people died as a result of the tsunami.

7. Sanriku, Japan Tsunami – The Sanriku earthquake of 1896 was one of the most destructive earthquakes to ever hit Japan. It registered an 8.5 in magnitude and caused two large tsunami waves which caused 27,000 deaths. The waves of the Sanriku event reached 25 meters and swept away everything they came into contact with. Different seismologists have declared that the resulting tsunami waves were much more devastating than they should have been, given the estimated seismic magnitude.

8. Southern Chile Earthquake and Tsunami – Possibly the largest earthquake in recorded history occurred on May 22, 1960 off the coast of Chile. The earthquake registered 9.5 on the Richter scale and sent 80 foot waves pounding into the shore of Chile only 15 minutes after the earthquake occurred. The waves stretched towards Hilo, Hawaii 15 hours after the earthquake and then towards Japan 22 hours later. The tsunami also affected the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the Aleutian Islands. The amount of damage ranged from US $400- 800 million and caused up to 6,000 deaths.

9. Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami – The 2011 earthquake of Tohoku was the most powerful earthquake to have ever hit Japan, and the fifth most powerful earthquake in recorded history.

It registered a 9.0 in magnitude and was preceded by large fore-shocks and hundreds of aftershocks. The main quake lasted several minutes, producing seismic energy that could provide a busy city like Los Angeles power for an entire year.

The resulting tsunami produced record high waves of over 30 meters and inundated several hundred kilometers of land. 15,884 people lost their lives in the resulting tsunami and also in the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. The Tokoku tsunami was the most expensive natural disaster ever recorded, costing the US equivalent of $300 billion.

10. Ryukyu Islands Tsunami – The earthquake that occurred in Ryukyu Islands, Japan in 1771 registered a 7.4 in magnitude. The tsunami that resulted claimed a third of the population (over 12,000 lives), with reports that the waves it produced were 40 to 80 meters high (although there may have been confusion in the original measurements). There was also a claim that an entire islet disappeared as a result of the event, but this has never been verified.

– Ashley Riley

Sources: Potiori, Australian Geographic, Random History, CNN, Some Interesting Facts, World History Project, Berkeley
Photo: Meljay

What causes a Tsunami? Many people worldwide can recall watching footage of the devastation caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, a colossal 9.3 magnitude quake that triggered a chain of deadly tsunamis. Beginning with an initial surge of about 108 feet, the tsunami killed almost a quarter million people, making it the deadliest tsunami in recorded history.

Water is life’s most vital resource, a necessity for humans, animals and plants alike. Yet, when provoked into the form of a tsunami, it has killed millions and obliterated towns and cities throughout the centuries, each time raising the question: how does life’s sustaining liquid turn into a destructive force?


The Causes of Tsunamis

Tsunamis are generated by sudden displacements of large volumes of ocean water caused by volcanic activity, shifts in the sea floor, landslides and–most frequently–undersea earthquakes. These movements push the overlying water around to create the initial waves of a tsunami. As the waves spread outward, 360 degrees from the quake’s epicenter, they swiftly grow into the frequently seen 30-foot waves that damage coastal settlements.

In the deep ocean, these first waves are just small undulations, but they become increasingly larger and more dangerous as they move toward shore. When the waves hit shallower water, the shallow depth both slows and bunches them together, significantly increasing their height. By the time they approach the coast, they can be enormous waves that wield ravaging potential. Tsunami is a Japanese word that derives from this situation: “tsu” means harbor and “name” means wave, creating a literal meaning of “harbor wave.”

Just three years ago, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered catastrophic tsunami waves that grew to heights of 133 feet. It was a quake so powerful that it altered the planet’s axis by 6.5 inches and relocated Japan eight feet closer to the United States. In some areas, these waves traveled more than six miles inland. The destruction to Japan was considerable, damaging over a million buildings and killing almost 16,000 people while injuring another 6,000.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the tsunami the worst crisis for Japan since World War II, and the World Bank estimated the economic cost to Japan at $235 billion, the most expensive natural disaster in recorded world history.

Because tsunamis travel at an astonishing speed–one comparable to that of a jet airliner–coastal towns near an undersea earthquake suffer the worst damage. Though natural disasters like tsunamis cannot be avoided, the consequences can be very different depending on the wealth of the region.


Learn what causes poverty.


“Most of the people killed by the tsunami died because they are poor,” says Michael Clemens, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development. “Even with improved warning systems, little can be done to prevent natural disasters from becoming massacres as long as people’s livelihoods, infrastructure and public health conditions are precarious.”

A high magnitude quake and tsunami in the Northern Pacific Ocean costs fewer lives and wreaks less infrastructural damage since that oceanic area is surrounded by wealthy nations like the U.S. and Japan, who maintain high-tech detection and monitoring systems. Additionally, these prosperous countries have stronger, more durable buildings and infrastructure than poor coastal towns and countries. In poor countries, a tsunami can throw millions below the poverty line by destroying homes and livelihoods.

“To minimize the death toll in future disasters, we need to do a much better job of supporting long-term economic development in these countries,” added Clemens.

Annie Jung

Sources: Voice for America, Geology, Beach Safe BBC, NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, NY Daily Times, Center for Global Development
Photo: WeatherWatch12

2004 Thailand Tsunami
December 26, 2004. Billions of people were waking up, making coffee, or in other parts of the globe preparing for a good night’s sleep. On the coast of Thailand, billions of tons of water crashed onto the shores. An extremely powerful earthquake, classified as a ‘megathrust’, caused an enormous Tsunami. Major damage was suffered up and down the coastline, including the eco-resort of KhaoLak.  A classic warning sign of an impending tsunami is a trough, when the ocean is pulled back from the shore before the waves come down. Sunbathers and swimmers alike did not have time to register this warning as they were distracted by the thousands of fish left on the sand. Nearly six thousand people were killed, and many of them were vacationing tourists. Hundreds more were injured or displaced from their destroyed homes. The main city with excellent hospitals, Phuket, became the main area of medical care during the aftermath and was covered intensively by media and news crews.

Under a ‘memorandum of understanding’, the U.S. donated with other nations Part One of the DartII buoy system to Thailand. The system uses ‘tsunameters’ and seismic information to predict potential tsunamis. The goal is to give everyone on the Indian Ocean from Thailand to Sri Lanka a sixty minute warning before another tsunami strikes. The systems have been implemented gradually since 2005, and are known collectively as the Indian Ocean Project. Thailand today is almost reminiscent of what it was before the tsunami ever struck. Beach days and nightlife are in full swing, hotel rates are down, shopping is up, and Thailand is welcoming visitors and tourists for the New Year. Economically, tourists visiting will help boost the market and get Thailand back to a stable place from which they will continue to grow.

The Impossible  is a feature length film that was released in 2012, eight years after the tsunami struck Thailand. It is based on the true story of Maria and Henry Bennet as well as their three sons, Thomas, Lucas, and Simon. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor play the parents of the three boys that were staying at a resort on vacation when the Tsunami struck.  Maria and Lucas were separated and stranded on the coastline, both severely injured. Henry, Simon, and Lucas had survived and ended up searching the resort for the rest of their family before traveling to Phuket to search the hospitals. Maria and Lucas ended up being aided by locals and also taken to the hospital in Phuket. The movie follows their harrowing and desperately hopeful story of surviving the tsunami and finding their way back together which, in the end, they do. The real family has returned to the beach every Christmas Day since, as a reminder to themselves and their children not to live in fear but to conquer the impossible.

Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Phuket Thailand, Jakarta Post, IMDB

Early Warning Systems are Not Just for Earthquakes
When political crises happen or human rights are being destroyed, the use of smart phones and other technology to spread the word is critical. What about when natural disasters strike? When a family has minutes to evacuate before a tsunami wipes out their village, do they take a picture or tweet about it? No. But the World Health Organization, in cooperation with national and local governments, and by demand of citizens in crisis and an outcry for better preventative measures, is working on building better early warning systems for post-disaster epidemics. The technology? A boat, a bike, your boots. Also needed: a pencil, paper, and your determination.

Recently in the Solomon Islands the immense destructive forces of the 6 February 2013 8.0 magnitude earthquake and pursuant 3m tsunami left thousands of people without homes and brought down the health care system.

The Solomon Islands consist of 1,000 islands off the South Pacific and are home to 550,000 people. The destructive power of the February earthquake left thousands vulnerable to diseases due to the broken health care system. 5500 residents required temporary living shelters. These shelters are often plagued by poor sanitation due to lack of resources and cramped living quarters. Poor sanitation leads to a plethora of preventable diseases—most of which associated with diarrhea.

Taking a queue from the early warning systems set up to warn of impending natural disaster, the World Health Organization worked with the Ministry of Health of the Solomon Islands to set up an early warning system to identify outbreaks, unusual outbreak patterns, and the number of people affected. This is a critical step towards disaster recovery and decreasing the vulnerability of those affected.

Developing the surveillance system presented logistical challenges of connecting vulnerable people to health clinics. Five clinics were set up around Santa Cruz, the main island that was affected. The head nurses, “doubled as boat captains,” connected patients to clinics. Traveling from surveillance sites to the clinics is risky. Poor weather, no lights on the boats, dangerous landing sites and navigational skill are all impediments to the surveillance system. For Solomon Islanders, these risks are necessarily overcome because full coverage is absolutely necessary for the system to work.

The WHO works with the clinics to make sure all the information necessary to identifying and preventing large-scale outbreaks is included in an accessible way. The successful system, now fully functional, has collected data, identified risky areas, and has quickly responded to problems.

The WHO initiative in the Solomon Islands is not unique and neither is their geography. There are 52 developing island nations in the world. These nations carry a disproportionate risk imposed by earthquakes and tsunamis and break down of health systems. Early warning health systems are a part of a larger global strategy to minimize post-natural disaster vulnerability. The WHO works with governments to create a Global Risk and Response system. The main activities include working with governments to set up early warning systems and develop laboratory capacities to handle large amounts of biological material—all of which requires bio-security to keep potential diseases from escaping. Training for and building response strategy plans is also a main function of the WHO’s Global Alert and Response (GAR) system. Seasonally, the GAR supports governments in climate related disease preparedness and creates standardized approaches to climate related diseases such as influenza and malaria.

Katherine Zobre

Sources: Wikipedia, WHO , WHO

Luxury Hotels in Thailand for CharitySome mourn through tears, others through memoirs, but there are those people like Mark Weingard who mourn and honor the dead through 6 stars hotels. While vacationing at his beachfront home in Phuket, Thailand, in December 2006, Weingard was awoken by the same sound that silenced hundreds and thousands of voices. Thanks to the structuring of his home, Weingard survived the tsunami and was able to get back to his daily life in London as the CEO of Reset, the inter-bank broking firm he started in 1998.

Two years earlier, Mark’s fiancé was tragically killed in the Bali Bombings while attending a wedding. In her honor, as well as in an effort to bring about a sense of purpose in his own life, Weingard established the Annika Linden Foundation. The foundation’s main purpose was initially to help out children and their families who were victims of the bombing. In little over a decade, his organization, now known as the Inspirasia Foundation, has been able to collect over $10 million in donations from various banking firms. This money is used to fund 16 different programs and projects from rehabilitation to education in Thailand, India, and Indonesia.

Weingard’s newest endeavor is Iniala, a 6 star, 10 room, a luxury hotel built on the land where his destroyed beach house once stood. 10% of the proceeds will be directly used to help fund the work of Inspirasia, an expected $800,000 annually. But Iniala is going to be only one of a handful of luxury hotels that will be part of the Iniala Group, which designs and operates luxury hotels across Asia. The expected annual collection from this giant venture will total $10 million, all going to the foundation.

Weingard’s past was the drive for establishing his foundation as well as the inspiration for his unique philosophy on giving. After his father’s tragic accident when he was 9, and marginally escaping death a few times himself (he was scheduled for a meeting at a World Trade Center office on 9/11), Weingard believes that the human potential is much greater than ourselves. “We are only here once, and we have to make the most of life…not only for ourselves but also for those around us.”

Through what he calls ‘strategic philanthropy’, Weingard brings together multiple disciplines such as finance, marketing, and law to make sound investments in the non-profit world. Only this way will organizations be able to “generate and scale social change as effectively and efficiently as a successful company generates profit and expands its business”.

It is absolutely refreshing to see successful businessmen and women transferring their world-class experience and knowledge into the non-profit world. Mixing ideas from finance, the legal sector, politics, and design in an efficient manner ensures that no time or money is wasted in these massive operations to help those in need. To sustain and even revamp the direction of non-profit organizations, this sort of creative and unique outlook is absolutely required to draw attention, money, and time.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source:Business Week
Photo:Blog A-Cero