Now that the world has been hit by Covid-19, and the word ‘pandemic’ has become part of our daily vocabulary, it’s time to know about such disasters that happened before our time. Major Disasters of the World brings to the readers some of the ‘major disasters’ that this world experienced, and how it was handled or mishandled by those at the helm.

The book covers some known and unknown disasters comprehensively; it begins with the plague that has been around forever, although it has diminished in recent years. The Great San Francisco Earthquake is also mentioned where the ‘sky caught fire’ and destroyed everything between the ground and the cloud. The sinking of the Titanic is discussed at length, including the reason why it was created, why it wasn’t full during its maiden voyage and why the captain chose to sacrifice his life instead of saving it.

If you didn’t know how significant and devastating (significant for the Allied Forces, devastating for the Japanese) the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was when it happened, or how did the super outbreak of tornadoes in the USA wreak havoc, you must get your hands on this book. It not only divulges never-before known information about the chemical disaster at Bhopal, India, in 1984, and the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl three years later, and how they affected the people who were in the vicinity.

From the mysterious sinking of Estonia, to the oil spills on European coasts, this book covers all the major disasters that shouldn’t have happened in an ideal world. Be it the AIDS epidemic, the Agent Orange (happened during the Vietnam War), the Seveso disaster (happened in Italy) and the slow death of the fastest airplane ever built Concorde, this book covers at least all the disasters one should know about in an easy-to-understand manner.

However, the modern-day readers will be shocked to know that the simple flu we don’t consider a threat was once as deadly as Covid-19, and that it resulted in more deaths than World War I. Like the Covid-19 of today, influenza made social distancing, wearing a mask and no touching a must, even then many people succumbed to it a century ago. The book also brings details of 9/11, Tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005, which happened in this century, but even then not many people know the complete story.

What’s different about this book on catastrophe is that it gives in-depth coverage of what might have happened and how it might have happened, alerting others regarding what to do if they find themselves in similar circumstances. It tells the readers that had the residents of Bhopal lay down flat on the ground with a wet cloth on their face, they might have escaped being affected by the chemicals in the air.

Similarly, it reveals that had the Titanic went to sea with the required number of lifeboats, the tragedy could have been averted. But all tragedies mentioned in this book were meant to happen, and they were meant to teach us something meaningful.

Let’s hope for a safer world in the coming years!

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 13th, 2021

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