Natural Hazards Update – Australia, China, Chile…

Feb 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Environmental Management


Maplecroft, a firm specializing in corporate risk intelligence, has compiled the following overview of natural disasters that have struck 6 countries in the past two weeks. Subscribers to the company’s web site can also download a Natural Disasters Index and maps showing economic losses associated with natural disasters.


Australia. 16 February 2011. Tropical Cyclone Carlos has made landfall over Darwin, in the Northern Territory. Heavy rainfall and strong winds have been reported. The cyclone is not as severe as Cyclone Yasi which hit north Queensland two weeks ago, however government institutions, transport services and Darwin Port have all been closed. Some damage to roads and infrastructure has been reported. Further information: ABC

Madagascar. 14 February 2011. Tropical Cyclone Bingiza has struck Madagascar, with the districts of Soanierana Ivongo, Sainte Marie, North of Mananara, Maroantsetra and Mandritsara all affected. Wind gusts of up to 220 kilometers an hour have been reported. The district of Northern Mananara which is the most densely populated area has been the most affected, an unofficial source reports that 80% of homes have been damaged. UN support is being sought. Further information: Relief Web

Chile. 14 February 2011. Chile is rocked by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake, the epicenter of which was offshore of the Maule region. The earthquake comes three days after a magnitude 6.8 quake shook the area to the south, the epicenter was again centered off-shore. No significant damage is reported from either earthquake. The earthquakes are a year after the devastating magnitude 8.8 earthquake, which killed over 500 people and caused $30 billion in damage. Further information: Associated Press

Sri Lanka. 14 February 2011. Heavy rain has caused flooding in the North Central and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, 325,000 people have been displaced and 27 people have been killed. The flooding follows earlier flooding from heavy rains in December 2010 and early January 2011 which impacted the same region. In both flooding events significant portions of the rice crop have been destroyed, and the present situation is likely to compound the damage to crops. Further information: BBC

China. 11 February 2011. A lack of rain causes droughts in Northern China, with some areas not seeing rain for four-months. No rain has fallen in Beijing for at least100 days. Some 2.6 million people and 2.8 million livestock are affected, with Shandong, Henan, Anhui and Hunan particularly badly affected. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has noted that the affected area of 5.16 million hectares represents two-thirds of China’s wheat production, shortages in the Chinese winter wheat crop could push global wheat prices further. The Chinese government has released a $1bn package of measures to try to alleviate the flood. Further information: Guardian

Somalia. 10 February 2011. Drought conditions continue across most of Somalia. The UN an aid groups are warning of a looming catastrophe. Food and water prices have all risen in the past months. The situation is exacerbated by the significant portions of Somalis already requiring emergency assistance as result of civil unrest and food insecurity. Further information: World Vision

Australia. 09 February 2011. Bush Fires in the state of Western Australia have destroyed 71 properties and badly damaged 32 others. The fires in the Perth Hills are believed to be some of the most devastating in the state. Further information: Sydney Morning Herald

Australia. 08 February 2011. Cyclone Yasi makes landfall at Mission Beach with recorded gusts of 180mph. Yasi was one of the most powerful cyclones to hit the east coast of Australia in recorded history and bought a 5m tidal surge. The cyclone was well forecast and the local population was well prepared, at present there is one reported death from the storm. The cyclone wiped out an estimated 90% of Australia’s banana crop and caused an estimated A$500 million damage to the sugar industry. The losses from Yasi are expected to reach A$3.5 billion. Further information: Guardian

About Maplecroft

Maplecroft is a leading source of global risk analysis. They research, index and map over 500 risks and issues to identify exposures and opportunities in both countries and companies. Maplecroft’s products and services are a vital resource for businesses and investors requiring analysis and insight into complex political, economic, social and environmental risks.

About the Author

Michael Bittner, CPEA, is an associate partner in the Boston, U.S.A. office of Environmental Resources Management  and editor of the EHS Journal. He has more than 20 years of experience in the EHS field, including 17 years of EHS consulting experience and four years as the corporate environmental manager for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor. Mr. Bittner specializes in global EHS solutions including

  • Compliance and management systems auditing.
  • EHS management systems implementation and design.
  • Sustainability solutions.
  • Mergers and acquisitions support.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Auditing Roundtable.

Photograph: Misty Morning by Lynn Cummings, Hot Springs, South Dakota, U.S.A.

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