Friday, 26 November 2010

Natural Disasters and Other Calamities

My friend from Mjix sent me a link to the map below depicting natural disaster hot zones around the world.

You can see a big version of the image above here. A look at Korea on the map would suggest that Korea is part of a hot zone. (You don't know where Korea is? Shame on you. It the peninsula that protrudes from China on the east, with the Japanese islands cupping it on the right. You are not to sure where China and Japan are either?! . . .  Now that is sad. Well, they, including Mongolia, are all part of the "Far East." See a map here.)

Korea is actually quite safe as far as natural disasters go. There are no significant earthquakes plaguing Korea; it is Japan that suffer from those. Not only is Japan directly over the Sagami Trough (#25 on the map), an oceanic trench that is known for around 7.9 scale quakes, Japan has also a number of temperamental volcanoes. (South) Korea's only volcano is Halla Mountain, generally considered dormant with its last eruption in 1007. Mount Halla is on Jeju Island, so an eruption there, while serious, will not affect mainland Korea that much. Now, Mount Baekdu which borders North Korea and China is another story. Signs indicate that it is ready to blow and it is suggested that it will be more devastating than when Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted and darkened big parts of Europe for days. I've been hoping to visit Mount Baekdu, but since trees started to die there because of volcanic gasses, I don't think it is safe to visit it any time soon.

The only natural disaster that does seem to hit South Korea on occasion are floods during the monsoon season and the occasional typhoon, but South Korea seems quite capable of handling these.

South Africa seems like one of the best places to live as far as natural disasters go. Southern Africa do not suffer much from serious natural disasters, except an occasional drought, which are usually not as severe as far as droughts can go in other places, like droughts in Eastern Africa (#37 on the map).

But then, who needs natural disasters if an HIV/AIDS pandemic and violent crimes kills people annually at equal staggering rates? Seen in this light, South Korea is still much safer to live. Or is it?

Safety in South Korea is relative, of course. The DMZ, the border between South Korea and North Korea, is the heaviest military fortified border on the planet. And this coming Sunday's activities in the disputed West Sea (Yellow Sea) may be as cataclysmic as Mount Baekdu erupting.

No comments: