Natural Disasters: Rising from the ground again
Natural disasters are called so because of the amount of destruction they bring along with them. In 2019 itself, we experienced over 400 natural disasters worldwide, including tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Not only do they affect the economy drastically, but these natural disasters also leave hundreds of people homeless. They can also give birth to an epidemic disease due to lack of hygiene in crowded areas.
The effect of natural disasters can be felt at the community, city, and state level; or many times they can impact an entire country while its life altering-effects are experienced by those who fortunately survive them.
One such disaster was Hurricane Maria of a deadly Category 5 that devastated Dominica, St Croix, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. It is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands and was also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch in 1998. It flattened the island, tearing up ageing electrical infrastructure and stranding 3.5 million Americans without power.
Some scientists and engineers of the Northeastern University believed that a destruction of this scale could actually change the face of the place completely for the better.
“This could be a test case for the U.S. to display its ingenuity, its prowess of technology, to show the world what a modern energy supply-and-demand system could look like,” said Matthias Ruth, professor of Public Policy and Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. “This is an opportunity to do things right.”
According to an article published in the New York times, natural disasters provide an opportunity to see how societies actually recover from such large-scale shocks. Disasters perform the economic service of clearing out outdated infrastructure to make way for more efficient replacements. It might be seen as Mother Nature’s contribution to what the Austrian-born U.S. economist Joseph Schumpeter famously called capitalism’s “creative destruction.”
This might seem outrageous at first, but with proper economic assistance, the affected region can be rebuilt in a well-planned, disaster-proof way. This transformation can have positive effects of the region’s economy as well.
After a city experiences massive natural destruction of property, it is more likely to stand up taller and stronger. This fact really holds true for the saying, sometimes, a good fall will help you stand up straighter.