What were the impacts of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami?

The Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami (11th of March 2001) was one of the largest ever recorded and caused serious damage and loss of life in Japan.

You can see a quake map here.

The BBC have a good over view of events here

Wikipedia has a fact-filled page here

One of the most striking aspects of this incident was the way in which the Japanese people reacted. There was little in the way of looting and disorder, which can characterise the aftermath of disasters.

Out at sea ships passed over the huge waves before they reached the coast. You can see how earthquakes trigger tsunamis here.


How do Bangladesh’s cyclone shelters work?

Bangladesh has a long history of suffering from the effects of cyclones, such as this one in 1991: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Bangladesh_cyclone. This article discusses Bangladesh’s vulnerability to cyclones and attempts to lessen that vulnerability: http://www.climate.org/PDF/Bangladesh.pdf.

Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable because so much of its land is low lying and as a nation, it has a relatively low level of economic development, meaning less money is available to spend on defences and recovery. 

To try to help limit the loss of life, thereby promoting faster recovery from cyclones and other flooding events, shelters have been built on stilts, allowing the population to take refuge from the rising water.

In 2008 Bangladesh had a network of around 1500 shelters, capable of holding thousands of people each, and this due to be increased substantially following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed around 3300 people in Bangladesh: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKDHA105884._CH_.242020080108 & http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=76490.

The shelters are built on pillars to keep them above the water and usually perform a dual role as community centres. You can find lots of images of cyclone shelters here: http://www.archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=6452

Many cyclone shelters are built with aid donated from MEDCs and NGOs, such as these ones being built by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC):


What effect has drought had on people and the environment in Kenya?

Kenya’s ongoing drought is having a severe effect on the environment, causing a number of changes as lakes dry up and plants and trees suffer. The drought combines with other man made pressures on the ecosystems and has a knock on effect on the people who rely on those environments to sustain them:




There are concerns that problems caused by the drought may ignite tribal violence:


One of the main ecosystems under threat is the Mau Forest. This report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) explains some of the treats facing the Mau forest; a list to which drought can be added:


Kenya Forests works to find a sustainable future for Kenya’s forest resources:


How do the National Hurricane Center predict hurricanes?

This link takes you to a news report showing the National Hurricane Center and how it does its work:


How has DFID helped the people of Bangladesh escape hazards associated withe river flooding?

Bangladesh id a relatively low-lying developing nation. As well as suffering from coastal flooding, much of the land is at risk from river flooding, which also brings much-needed nutrients in the form of river sediment.

You can find the overall development plan for Bangladesh from 2007 to 2009 here:


Ond DFID backed project is helping people who live on islands or “chars” in the Ganges-Brahmaputra River:


This has helped deal people cope with floods such as those in 2007:


How serious is the degradation of the Earth’s ecology?

Decades of warnings have already been heard, predicting ecological ruin for the Earth. Many of the predictions have come to pass, but how serious could the impact od ecological degradation be?


Earthquake in China – 12th May 2008 – Who was affected?

A strong earthquake (7.8 magnitude) has caused devastation and killed thousands in Sichuan Province, China.

You can find out more about the event here:



The area affected can be seen in detail on this map: