Natural Disasters Throughout the World


Image by Angelo Giordano via Pixabay

Have you ever been swiping through social media lately and found a video about a recent natural disaster that just seemed too depressing and mindlessly scrolled away? Well, stop! It’s important you listen! Ever since the year 2023 began our planet has had many heartbreaking natural disasters. And although somtimes the harsh reality of the world just makes you want to hide under the covers, close your eyes, and ignore it; it’s important we stay informed and use our voices and platforms to spread awareness to others. That way the more people stay informed, the more people can help, show support, or donate and the world just might heal a little bit. Just imagine: reposting a petition or donating a few bucks to a GoFundMe made someone’s life better! And wouldn’t that feel better than scrolling away?

Ice Storm in Texas

Early this year in late January and early February, a winter ice storm slammed the state of Texas and resulted in more than 400,000 power outages and several deaths. Unfortunately, as a result of this, hundreds of thousands of people were left in subzero temperatures without heat. The Weather Channel has reported that the storm caused dangerous and icy road conditions that caused vehicles to slide on the ice costing the lives of seven Texans. 

Massive Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

On Monday, February 6th this year, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and strong tremors were felt in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Iraq. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit Turkey in a century. Only hours later another quake hit with a 7.5 magnitude and another on the 20th with a 6.3 magnitude. 

Search and rescue teams were reportedly dispatched immediately to the affected area as they desperately try to uncover people from the rubble of collapsed buildings. According to AL Jazeera, “more than 84,000 buildings have either been severely damaged, need urgent demolition, or collapsed, according to officials”. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors, but the snow and subzero temperatures have slowed down their work.

Over 35,000 people lost their lives due to the earthquake on Monday and the United Nations estimates that up to 5.3 million people in Syria may be homeless after the earthquakes. Despite all this tragedy and heartbreak, it has also been reported that 8,000 people have been pulled out alive from rubble in Turkey, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Environmental Disaster in East Palestine, Ohio

A Norfolk Southern train carrying about 50 cars crashed on February 3rd in East Palestine, Ohio, releasing toxic chemicals into the ground, water, and atmosphere. In an effort to contain the spread, the government redirected the locals and burned the dangerous chemicals in a “controlled burn,” and then asked residents to return declaring it was safe.

However, residents have reported signs that suggest the area may not be as safe as anticipated. People are experiencing nausea, headaches, burning eye sensations, and more. Also sadly, wildlife and pets are dying along with 3,500 fish due to the toxic chemical release.

One of the chemicals is vinyl chloride, an extremely toxic chemical linked to an increased risk of cancer and The Norfolk Southern train held at least 5 tanker cars of vinyl chloride. 

Residents are also concerned about water contamination as it has been confirmed that hazardous chemicals have spilled into the Ohio River which provides drinking water to over 5 million people across 14 states. Many officials and outside experts claim that its safe to drink but many are worried about the long-term effects it may have on groundwater systems and the water supply.

People these days (let’s face it, older people) like to say that we teens are addicted to the internet and that social media is the downfall of society and whatever. So why not prove them wrong and use it for good? There are plenty of Twitter and Instagram accounts we could follow that keep us updated on national crises. Also, simply just reposting a petition, sharing a donation link, or even just commenting with words of support to give a post engagement can help make the world a better place. Below are some links for Turkey, Syria, and Ohio if you would like to donate or share with others, but feel free to explore and research your own ways to contribute! Thanks for listening, and remember: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”!