Natural Disaster Hurricane Matthew

by gshep on November 2, 2016 - 11:04pm





Hello this is Dean Shepard, from SUNY College at Brockport. Tonight we will be discussing natural disasters. The most recent natural disaster to strike the United States of America was a hurricane. Hurricane Matthew was a very substantial storm system that had a long path of destruction as it traveled from Haiti, up to the Carolinas. You might be wondering how bad could a hurricane really could be. 


According to the textbook “Natural Hazards: Earth’s Processes as Hazards, Disasters, and Catastrophes” by Keller and DeVecchio, for an event to qualify as a disaster, it must have occurred naturally and fit one of the four criteria. These four include; at least 10 people killed, at least 100 people effected, state of emergency declared, or international assistance required. Remember at least only one of these four must occur to be classified as a natural disaster. 


Davis Carrol is a biology student at Guelph University, through his extensive research about Hurricane Matthew, he has learned the seriousness of this event. Carrol reports the stage four hurricane displaced over 60-thousand Haitians. He discusses that pledges from Montreal and Quebec, donated 560-thousand dollars to support areas of Haiti that were affected most. 


Between October 2 and October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on Haiti. Initially it was very large waves, so fishermen and citizens were supposed to be evacuated. As the storm progressed onto land there was severe raining, flooding, and winds. These winds reached 145 miles-per-hour. Joseph Guyler Delva of Reuters, published an article called “Hurricane Matthew Death Toll Tops 1,000 in Haiti”, discussed the damages to storm caused to Haiti. All infrastructure has been flattened and destroyed. The article also explains that over one billion dollars in damage has been done, with over one-thousand dead. This has lead to mass graves due to the bodies decomposing. 


From October 6 through October 7, 2016, Hurricane Matthew moved onto to United States. More specifically it targeted Florida and Georgia. Once Hurricane Matthew made landfall it was still strong enough to force the governor of Florida to declare a State of Emergency. Between Florida and Georgia 15 deaths were reported. 


Hurricane Matthew made one last destructive stop before dying out in the ocean. This last stop occurred in North and South Carolina, from October 7 through October 9, 2016. Elisha Fieldstadt reported a story on NBC News. The title was “Hurricane Matthew Death Toll Rises, N.C. Gov. Warns: Stay Away From the Water” and discussed how the storm has affected the Carolinas. Fieldstadt stated that there has been 30 deaths in the two states due people driving or walking in the flood water and getting swept away. 


It’s amazing the difference in death toll from one country to another country. Unfortunately third-world countries such as Haiti start with poor to no infrastructure. This leaves the citizens unprotected from the elements and left to fend for themselves and their families. On the other hand, it’s a very satisfying feeling to see other countries coming to the aid of a country that is ripped apart. This sense of need to help others is what proves mankind is great.


Thanks for listening, and if you are thinking about donating to help the less fortunate that are still trying to rebuild their homes visit w-w- w-dot-u-n-i-c-e-f-u-s-a-dot-o-r-g-slash-hurricane-slash-relief-slash- haiti






Hi gshep!

Your radio broadcast was slightly bittersweet to read. The effects of Hurricane Matthew are devastating, and hearing the lists and lists of lives lost in numerous states in the USA is definitely challenging. However, I believe you used this devastation in an effective manner in terms of your radio broadcast. You used specific terms and specific facts about Hurricane Matthew to instil a sense of emotion and compassion among audiences. You made it very easy for an individual to hear your radio broadcast, and then immediately feel the responsibility to donate relief funds to your suggested organization.

One thing to think about for future radio broadcasts, may be to focus less on the logistics of the issue at hand (e.g. what classifies a natural disaster as a natural disaster?), and more on it's impacts and potential solutions. In this case specifically, I think it would be more effective to begin your podcast with a description of the negative impacts of Hurricane Matthew and the current realities facing the victims of Hurricane Matthew, and then spend more time focussing on the relief efforts. Instead of describing how Hurricane Matthew fits the criteria as a natural disaster - which we all know based on the outcome - I believe it is important to instil hope in your audience that even though all of these awful things happened, we have the capacity to provide assistance.

Hello, thats a great point you make. I think potential solutions could be endless, but a great topic of discussion. The idea of showing how it fit the criteria was to elaborate on the severity of the storm, initiating a need for action (assistance). I agree, adding a sense of hope might persuade more people to provide assistance know the positive benefits at hand.

Hi there,

I really enjoyed reading your podcast! The sound effects that you have added at the beginning have created an extra level and relate really well into your topic serving as a different approach to an introduction. I also enjoyed how you compared the impacts of the storm between the various countries impacted to confirm that the hurricane classified as a natural disaster for which you have a multitude of proof. I also think that your conclusion was well written in regards to your comments made about the differences between countries in terms of infrastructure, impact and relief efforts.

I personally would have liked to have seen more of the environmental impact related to this issue. Is there some relation to the severity of the storm due to climate change? Are different countries going to experience different damage due to proximity to the equator? Are these level of storms going to be more common? Or you could have also looked into if the storm caused any damage that may lead to an environmental concern. Were chemicals released into the environment due to over flooding drains? Was some storage facility for chemicals damaged?

Otherwise, your post was very well written. You really focused on the social aspect and death tolls and I would have loved to see at least a little bit of focus on storm severity due to climate changes or environmental concerns linked to damage from the storm.


Hello, thank you for the compliments! I agree, I should have mentioned more about climate change. It seems with global warming, the sea water temperatures are rising. This results in more hurricanes. You are right, this do tend to be closer to the equator because of the warmer weather.

Hi gshep,

I really like how you broke down your podcast into short and sweet paragraphs. It made it easier to read. It's interesting to hear about how vastly different the impacts a natural disaster can have on a developed country such as the States compared to the impacts on a developing country such as Haiti. For instance, the death toll in the U.S. was only 30 compared to the death toll of 1,000 in Haiti. These numbers illustrate perfectly how developed and developing countries handle natural disasters. You're right in saying that Third World countries have little to no infrastructure. They simply don't have the capabilities to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster.
As climate change progresses, it is expected to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters. I find it unfortunate how countries who contribute a lot to climate change (such as America and Canada) are the least affected by natural disasters and countries who contribute a small amount (such as Haiti and Cuba) are the most affected. What are your thoughts on that?

Hello, thank you for enjoying my podcast! I think that including statistics about death truly show the severity of a natural disaster. This differentiates from damage in dollars because these third world countries simply do not have much to get destroyed. Thats such an interesting point you bring up about America and Canada being the biggest contributors, but yet least affected. I never thought about it that way, but its very sad to think about now. It would be nice to see these superpowers, help contribute to the damaged third world countries or at least setup a program to help re-build.

I enjoyed your podcast a lot! It was extremely factual and (as devastating as it is to think of such an occurrence) it really painted the picture of just how severe the event was. You used relaxed yet informative language which would enable anyone with or without previous knowledge of such topics to understand exactly what has happened.

The only criticisms I would have however, would be that maybe it is too structured as a step-by-step description of the event and more about the science behind the crisis rather than giving some information about the effect this has on its surroundings in the aftermath.
You talked about the death tolls but could have maybe touched more on the environmental issues this would bring to an area and what it would mean for the months afterwards in terms of maybe soil quality or rebuilding farms as a source of income for the communities etc.

Overall this was a strong post and was very interesting to read, well done!

Hello gshep, I really enjoyed your podcast. Your argument was really well structured, from focusing on what is considered a natural disaster to confirming this through your Hurricane Matthew example. I also really liked how you contrasted the impacts between Haiti and USA, which shows gross disparity in impacts natural disasters can and do have between and first world and third world country.

As serious as this natural disaster is, to make matters worse, as a result of the climate change natural disasters and extreme weather is expected to occur more frequently. As you eloquently highlighted in your podcast it is the poorer countries such as Haiti are the most at risk to these extreme weather events. It has been noted the over the last 25 years, 95% of casualties from natural disasters occur in developing countries.

Since developing countries are not responsible a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions do you think that more of the responsibility of larger polluting countries to help developing countries from the impending extreme weather events that are expected to occur as a result of climate change.

If you wanted to learn more about this or focus another podcast on this topic here are a couple articles that can help get you started into the topic. Again, great post!

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