Recent Disasters: averted or delayed?

In the past few months, we’ve seen impending possible disasters fail to reach fruition, thankfully. But have these disasters been averted, or only delayed? I thought it would be useful to give an overview of several of those scenarios.

A Major Drought

This disaster actually occurred, but it could have been much worse. In 2011, there was a severe drought in Texas and the surrounding States. In summer of 2012, that drought weakened in Texas, but increased in the Midwest and western States. The drought continued to be severe until summer of 2013, when it began to weaken. Currently, there is still a drought, but it is much milder than in the past two years:

The 2012 drought did wreak havoc with corn and soy prices, driving up the costs of animal feed. But a good harvest of corn and soy in 2013 averted the economic food disaster that would have occurred with a second season of crop failures. The drought disaster was in a sense averted, since it could have been much worse. But another drought, sooner or later, is inevitable.

A Disease Pandemic

There was a flu pandemic in 2009/2010 of the H1N1 virus. But like the drought, this disaster turned out to be less severe than it could have been. The case fatality rate was less than 1%. But the World Health Organization estimates the total deaths at about 18,000.

In late 2012, a new disease immerged, which would be much worse if it becomes a pandemic: MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). But the number infected (lab confirmed) is presently only 139 cases. How many have died of those 139? A total of 60, so far. That’s an incredibly high case fatality rate of 45%. Get sick with MERS, and you can flip a coin as to whether you’ll live or die. Not what you want. The only thing preventing this disease from becoming the worse pandemic of this generation is its difficulty of transmission. If the virus mutates to spread much more easily, it will be a major worldwide pandemic. And that remains to be seen. So this disaster has not yet been averted.

An Economic Disaster

It was only days ago that the U.S. avoided a major economic disaster by raising the debt ceiling and passing a bill to fund the government. However, that raising of the debt ceiling will reportedly only take us as far as February 2014. And of course the government always needs another funding bill. This type of disasters is always impending. And given the state of our political system and our extremely high national debt, I agree with many commentators that economic disaster is inevitable. It is only a question of when.

Hurricane Season 2013 is already asking the question: Hurricane Season 2013: Year Without a Major Hurricane?. The “season” for hurricanes ends in November. It may be that we’ve avoided any major hurricanes for the entire season.

But preparedness for storms, superstorms, and other natural disasters is always a good idea. There is always another storm, another hurricane, another earthquake, sooner or later. There’s no cure for bad weather.

Other Disasters

There’s always another storm on the horizon. And there’s always the possibility of a war, or terrorism, or civil unrest. If it hasn’t happened recently, or in your area of the world, thank God. But given the state of human society, these problems or their like will occur eventually. So our prudent reasonable preparations are never in vain.

– Thoreau

2 Responses to Recent Disasters: averted or delayed?

  1. Heh. I’d love to hear the argument for “crisis averted”.