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Top 5 Natural Disasters That Rocked The World In 2011

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By Srishti Jaju:

Apparently 2011 is being marked as the penultimate  year of our lives. 2011 started with a very bad note with around 5 earthquakes, a flood, and shift of Earth’s magnetic north pole in the very 1st week of the year, which affected not only the human beings but also killed fishes as well as birds in various countries of the world. Apart from the natural disasters 2011 has also seen the worst ups and downs   in the world economy and has witnessed around 30 deaths of the great personalities around the globe.

Let’s have a look at the expensive natural disasters both in terms of casualties and money.

1. Japan: Earthquake and tsunami

Cost: $235 billion (by the World Bank)

So far, 8,649 people have been confirmed dead and another 13,262 are missing since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast near Sendai, Japan, on March 11, 2011. The degree of damage caused by the earthquake and resulting tsunami was enormous. Videos show that almost no parts of any structures were left standing in the worst affected areas.

Failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant intensified the situation, resulting in evacuation of about 200,000 people residing around the plant.

The World Bank on March 21 said that damage might reach $235 billion, while Japan’s government had a higher estimate of $309 billion. The damage estimate could go even higher as it does not include losses in economic activity from planned power outages or the broader impact of the nuclear crisis, making the disaster world’s most expensive on record.

2. Rio de Janeiro: floods and mudslides

Cost: $1.2 billion

A series of floods and mudslides took place in January 2011 in several towns of the Mountainous Region (RegiãoSerrana), in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Casualties occurred in the cities of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis, Petrópolis, Sumidouro and São José do Vale do Rio Preto. The floods caused at least 903 deaths. While local media claims that the combination of floods, mudslides and landslides in Rio de Janeiro became the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian history, some contend that a similar weather-related tragedy that took place in the same state in 1967 was much deadlier, and that an estimated 1,700 people lost their lives on the occasion.

3. Chile: Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption

COST: disruptions to airlines at $21 million for Qantas and $11 million for Virgin Australia.

The 2011 Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption is a volcanic eruption that began in the Puyehue-CordónCaulle volcanic complex in Chile on June 4, 2011.The eruption from the Cordon Caullefissure.At least 3,500 people were evacuated from nearby areas,while the ash cloud was blown across cities all around the Southern hemisphere, including Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Stanley, Porto Alegre, Cape Town, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of international and domestic flights and causing travel chaos.

By 18 June the ash cloud had completed its first circle of the globe. An estimated one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice were ejected – requiring power equivalent to 70 atomic bombs.

4. Texas: Wildfires

The 2011 Texas wildfires are an on-going series of destructive wildfires in Texas, United States that have occurred in the 2011 fire season. Statistics on the fires have been recorded since the current fire season began November 15, 2010.From the beginning of the fire season to October 31, around 27,976 fires had burned 3,959,040 acres (about double the previous record), 2,862 homes,1,939 of which were destroyed over the Labor Day weekend, and over 2,700 other structures.47.3% of all acreage burned in the United States in 2011 was burned in Texas. The fires have been particularly severe due to the on-going 2011 Southern US drought covering the state, and exacerbating the problem is rapid desertification, the unusual convergence of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and low humidity.

5. World wide: Tornadoes

Cost: Damages (USA) $20-25 billion (Estimate as of July 1)

Extremely destructive tornadoes form most frequently in the U.S., Bangladesh and Eastern India, but they can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Tornadoes also appear regularly in neighbouring southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season, and somewhat regularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.As of December 9 2011, there have been 1,836 tornadoes reported in the US in 2011. This has been an exceptionally destructive and deadly year for tornadoes; worldwide, at least 576 people perished due to tornadoes.

Time span: January 2011 — ongoing

Maximum rated tornado: EF5 tornado Philadelphia; Mississippi on April 27; Hackle burg, Alabama on April 27; Smithville, Mississippi on April 27; Rainsville, Alabama on April 27; Joplin, Missouri on May 22; Piedmont, Oklahoma on May 24

Fatalities (USA): 552 fatalities (>5,370 injuries)

(worldwide): 576

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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