Scientists are constantly getting better at knowing when the next hurricane, landslide, or flood will happen. However, science communication about these disasters lags behind.
Natural events and disasters of the past have influenced some of the most iconic art of our time. From Turner’s sunsets to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – both were composed in the shadow of the greatest volcanic eruption of our age, Mount Tambora in 1815. The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai (c. 1829–33) has been interpreted as a warning about tsunami risk. In an era of increasing natural hazards and climate change, art can also communicate the future risks we face.
The death toll from Cyclone Idai that ripped into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in March 2019 is now above 1,000, with damages estimated at $2 billion. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in disasters (with $225 billion of economic losses). Approximately 79 percent of fatalities occurred in the Asia Pacific region, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. In fact,
Unbreakable” report. The Caribbean Hurricane season of 2017 was a tragic illustration of this.
, according to the 2017 “
Not one, but two Category 5 hurricanes wreaked destruction on numerous small islands, causing severe damages on islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Martin. The human cost of these disasters was immense, and the impact of this devastation was felt most strongly by poorer communities in the path of the storms.