Lessons Learned

Disasters of the Twentieth Century

Most of the great disasters of the twentieth century became truly “great” precisely because there were not appropriate levels of planning or mitigation processes in place, and the San Francisco Fire of 1906 was no exception. Caused by an earthquake that disrupted what mitigation components that were a part of the city — rupturing water lines to make fighting the fires all but impossible, ad breaking the citys alarm system to make warnings less effective — San Francisco was nearly leveled by the two concurrent and directly related disasters that struck (Popular Mechanics, 2012). A lack of planning in the citys design made the buildings susceptible to the earthquake and the fire, with densely packed wooden structures and man-made ground both exacerbating the problem immensely (Popular Mechanics, 2012). With the mitigation systems compromised from the outset, there was little to be done.

The Spanish Flu epidemic that claimed fifty million lives worldwide is another example of a lack of planning and an eradication of mitigating factors.

This outbreak began to occur during the height of World War I, and thus by the time the virulence and highly contagious nature of the disease was known it had already been shipped along with soldier throughout Europe and from there to other parts of the world (Popular Mechanics, 2012). There was no proper plan in place for dealing with an epidemic of this magnitude, in part because there simply was not the medical capability to address the disease, but also because there was not the international coordination and cooperation necessary to accompany the degree of international trade and interaction (Popular Mechanics, 2012). This provided a great source of learning for future epidemics, however.

The Bay of Pigs disaster was purely man-made, and as such ought to have been under the.