Natural Calamities in Iceland


Iceland is a country of slightly over one hundred thousands of kilometers square in the mid Atlantic ridge in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean .(Kozák & Cermák, 2010). The situation of the country on top of unstable seismic rocks near the ocean exposes it to a variety of natural calamities. When these calamities occurs, they cause a variety of problems to the people and structures living in the country. This paper therefore analyses both the historical and current worst natural calamities which have ever been experienced in the island of Iceland.

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Natural calamities in Iceland

Ireland has been faced with various natural calamities since time immemorial (Kozák & Cermák, 2010). However, the calamities which can be considered here as the biggest or rather the worst calamities have various ways of classification. Calamities can be classified in terms of the physical damage it causes, the number of victims involved, whether killed or just injured and the amount of damage it might cause to assets. In the same vein, therefore, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and diseases can be considered here as the major natural disasters to have hit the country.

Effects of natural calamities

According to Helgason and Gudjon, earthquakes have been having devastating effects in the country whenever they occur (HELGASON, 2008). It is worth noting that the worst earthquake to have ever hit the country took place in June, 17th 2000 when the country was marking a public day and so many people were gathered outside. This earthquake hit the highest 6.6 units on Richter scale which is considered to be the highest in the country. Volcanic eruptions have also been experienced in the country having the almost similar degree of causal influence. The menace of 1707 smallpox still remains in the history books of the country. These natural disasters are considered serious in the country following their impacts in the life of the people and the economic activities taking place in the country.

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Impacts of natural calamities

The millennium earthquake in the country occurred majorly in the southern parts of the country particularly the Reykjanes Penisula and the Hengill areas of in the southern region. Although reports show that no person was killed in the fracas, the effects of the quake still remain in the books of history. Many people were injured in the incident and a lot of buildings destroyed. The smallpox disaster is still recorded in the books of history following the number of lives of people it claimed. It is reported that more than fifteen thousand of people succumbed to the disease (Kozák & Cermák, 2010). Similarly, volcanic eruptions which have been manifested in the country have caused a lot of physical problems including increased flooding of rivers. The hot lava materials erupted have the capacity to melt most of the large ice deposits in the areas where they do occur. The melted ice turned into waters then flows to the rivers and streams causing overflow and flooding. Volcanic eruptions also caused displacement of hundreds of people as they were moved to safer grounds.

Calamities are special

The natural calamities are always special in their own ways. Considering the topmost devastating calamities in Iceland, their special nature can be seen in various instances. The occurrence of volcanic eruptions, for instance, cannot be easily monitored and precisely predicted (Charlie, 2010). This makes them even more dangerous to human life as it proves very difficult and hard to take earlier precautions. On the other hand, earthquakes though can be monitored, their level and extent of damage can be reduced significantly. It is an open fact that in the earthquake prone areas of the country, many people abhor building storey houses, but prefer low-level houses. This means that in an event that the quake occurs, the level of damage can be very less. The only special thing about smallpox is that it came when the people were least prepared for it. In the current world, it is no longer any disaster as it can easily be treated and controlled.

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Chances of future occurrences

According to euro news, there are indications that Iceland is not yet through with the manifestation of earthquakes (Euronews, 2010). The seismic activities still being experienced in the country points about the possible situations where the same can still occur. Similar reports are given in the cases of volcanic eruptions. The same views are also expressed by Doctor Paul Einarsson, a Geophysicist in the University of Iceland (Charlie, 2010). He notes that the rise and fall of the rocks level in the seismic zones can openly show that more natural actions are to be expected in such areas. The good news is that in the current world, chances of smallpox killing so much number of people is just out of question. This is attributed to the high level of technological development and advancement which have been experienced the in medical field. Smallpox can therefore easily be treated and controlled.

Consequences of natural calamities

The consequences of natural calamities are varied and diverse. These consequences majorly depend on the nature of the natural calamity. However, in this case, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have a lot of relevance. The short-term consequences for the duo effect are fear and psychological problems they inflict on the people. In addition, they cause transport and communication problems. The lava flow over rails and roads mean that people cannot travel. Similarly, the volcanic eruptions have serious obstruction to air travel as airplanes will not make a successful travel in the air having a lot of soil particles. Both the earthquakes and the disease had seen the rate of human suffering and death toll rise by given percentages (Sigbjörnsson, 2000). These may have long-term effects on the people concerned. Economic activities are halted whenever a calamity strikes. This will ensure that the gross domestic production of the country may reduce. Practical example can be cited in 2000 when majority of the citizens were advised to stay and remain indoors.

The natural calamities in Iceland have caused detrimental effects on the people of the country as well as their assets. The government should therefore be in position to combat the future situations where the same can be experienced. The ones which can be controlled should be controlled. The ones which are beyond control should have necessary measures put in place to reduce the damage they may cause.

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