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Chapter 47: Environmental Disasters
Mildly put, Earth in the 21st century is a dangerous place. In December 2004, an earthquake-induced tsunami leveled homes and businesses from Indonesia to India to Sri Lanka. The waves even reached the east coast of Africa. It is estimated that 230,000 people lost their lives. Climatic extremes hit North America in 2005; so many hurricanes formed that the Tropical Storms Prediction Center—responsible for naming storms—ran out of names on its list. The more than 1,800 fatalities and monetary losses near $150 billion made Hurricane Katrina a hard name to forget (Figure 47.1). Earthquakes in Pakistan (2005) and China (2008) claimed 80,000 and 70,000 people, respectively. In Chile (2010), an 8.8 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings and felled bridges. The death toll topped ...