MOTHER

On her land they were born. Under the shades of her sky they were brought up. She incubated them until they were able to take their first steps. She provided everything to them and never skimped. She taught them her language in order to understand what was being said around them. She revealed to them her laws so they would be safe from dangers. She leaded them as the best guide. She is their mother who did not give birth to them. She is my mother. She is NATURE.

This is how the story began between a mother and her young human children, but the end of it was much different. From the top of a rock far away, I was watching. I witnessed everything that happened there, it could not be easily forgotten.

UNDER THE MOUNTAIN

These little human creatures grew up and their dreams grew with them. At the foot of this great mountain they built their city to perpetuate .. “The City of POMPEII " .. a unique pearl that they created under the shadows of Mount VESUVIUS . A freshwater was flowing from underneath. A fertile land was blessing its people with the$ finest fruits. A sea was providing them with all good things it contained.

THE PEARL & THE GIANT

Arriving merchants studded POMPEII 's brow with gold, silver and precious stones, while craftsmen and artists competed to adorn the city to emerge finally as the most beautiful bride. Indeed, the city was unrivaled. When it was seen by those who were passing by the Gulf of Naples, it looked like a sparkling pearl that was embracing by the mighty Mount VESUVIUS as if this giant was protecting POMPEII from all evil.

OTHER FACE

The mother continued to hedge and protect the city that the humans had established, until a moment came when the mother began to reveal to them a small part of her other face. A face that the people of POMPEII had never seen before. In 62 AD, a ruthless earthquake struck the city with which most of the city's luxurious walls and solid pillars collapsed. the earthquake hit the city aggressively but the young city did not break down that day, it tried to stand on its feet once again.

JUST A HARBINGER

In a few years the city was able to restore its buildings, heal its wounds and continue in its path toward eternity. What the people of POMPEII did not know was that this earthquake was nothing but a harbinger before the mother revealed to them her other face completely.

RAGE

I wondered what was the cause of her anger? Did her human children challenge her? Did they think she was easily and unconsciously under the reach of their hands?

Did they break her laws which were drawn harmoniously and flawlessly? Did they exceed their limits or assault her sacred places? Did they get arrogant and thought she was unable to return a hit back furiously and destructively? Were they seduced by the civilization and prosperity they had achieved, forgetting that without her they would not be able to reach that far? Or was her anger just to remind them of how strong and powerful she was and how weak they were?

These questions were occuping my head while I was observing the scene from afar.

DARK SUNSHINE

NATURE didn’t give her human children at POMPEII that much time. 17 years after this devastating earthquake, after POMPEII had recovered completely from its effect, in a sunny day - specifically on 24th of August, 79 AD - while all the people were busy with their businesses and their markets, suddenly!! The earth began to shake beneath their feet and the walls started to tremble. What was happening?!

From the summit of mount VESUVIUS ; gases, vapors, and volcanic ashes began to rise high in the sky. Black clouds started to camp above the city. The mountain that the people of POMPEII thought it would protect them from all evils turned against them that day.

DEAD SILENCE

The great Mount VESUVIUS erupted, spewing tons of volcanic lava, gases and ashes to more than 20 kilometers high in the sky. Life ceased completely in the city and its people were harshly shocked. The shock created a dead silence.

ERUPTION OF VESUVIUS

VESUVIUS turned into a terrifying beast. It heavily rained the city by stone and fire after it had blocked the light of day completely by its volcanic dark clouds which flooded the city into a deep darkness. For hours, The mountain continued to pour its hail of anger on the city without stopping.

NOWHERE TO FLEE

The molten lava started to crawl terrifyingly in the streets and lanes of the city. Lots of people tried to escape but They were not allowed to do so. Even those who rushed into the sea; they were followed by the giant tsunami waves caused by the earthquakes accompanying the explosion of the mountain, and they ended up at the bottom of the sea.

Others tried to take shelter in their most powerful buildings, but Where was the escape?. The mother got angry. The giant VESUVIUS erupted. They were completely surrounded. There was nowhere to flee.

FIRE BEAST

The siege was tightened around the people of the city after they had ran out of tricks to find a way out of this hill. At midnight, the volcanic columns collapsed to form a torrent of poisonous gas, stone, ash and fire.

This torrent descended from the top of the mountain, heading towards the city at a tremendous speed like a fiery predatory beast who was rushing in the direction of its prey to devour it. The scene could not be forgotten. It was a very terrifing moments. It was the first time to see this scary face of my mother.

UNDER THE ASHES

The volcanic torrent devoured the city completely and buried it in a blink of an eye with everything it contained. The city was completely wiped off the map as if no human had stepped on this spot of land before.

This was the end of a story that hadn’t started this way. I had never imagined that a mother would be angry with her children in this way and with all this cruelty. I could not believe what had happened!!

A PAINTING

POMPEII disappeared for 16 centuries until it was accidentally discovered in the 18th century AD. As if NATURE wanted to bring out what was left of POMPEII to her human children in order to be as a large memorial painting that was painted on the back of the earth by the mother herself using stone and fire after she had frozen all aspects of life in it.

If you wander through the alleys of what is left of the city, you will easily notice the trail of horse-drawn carriages still carved into the paths and alleys of the city, you will see the fountains that were used to water the people and the horses are still in their place, you will notice the beauty of the design and the magnificence of the construction, also you will not miss the signs that show the amount of anger NATURE poured on the city and its people on that day when the volcano erupted.

LAST MOMENTS

The most poignant part of this painting is not the scenes of empty public squares or the broken high pillars, but of those human bodies that died on the day of volcano eruption and were reformed in the form that they died. Each one is telling a story of the last moments of his or her life and embodies this human's struggle with NATURE for survival.

An astonishing and terrifying painting as if our mother intended to keep it in order to always remind the human beings of something very important and very critical.

REPEATED ANGER

POMPEII was over with all its pains and sorrows. POMPEII was over but I remained the only witness who can tell its tragic story.

POMPEII disaster was neither the first nor the last. That anger of our mother NATURE was repeated over and over. It took different forms, but all of them were cruel and scary.

MILLIONS OF DEATHS

During your recent history since the beginning of the 20th century until September 2020, along a course of 120 years; 15,612 natural disasters happened on your green planet. Collectively, these disasters caused the death of 33.5 million people.

POMPEII Legend

NUCLEUS

Not all of these disasters were at the same level of severity and brutality. A small percentage of them, which didn’t exceed 10%, were the leading cause of almost all the deaths. This small percentage is the nucleus of whole disasters where the mass was concentrated. This percentage harvested 99% of the total souls that were got lost (33.15 million people).

SISTERS

Every one of these 1,444 violent disasters despite the difference between them in place or in time was witnessed by one of my sisters. Yes, I have sisters. Each one of them is memorizing precisely what happened before her eyes. Each one is telling and representing a tragic story between our mother NATURE and her human children. Let me present to you my sisters and lets have an insightful and analytical look at the disasters that they have witnessed before and what they are representing today.

CATEGORIES & SUB-CATEGORIES

NATURE’s anger took many faces, but they were categorized into FIVE main-categories and ELEVEN sub-categories, which are:


Biological
Climatological
Geophysical
Hydrological
Meteorological
Epidemic
Drought
Wildfire
Earthquake
Mass Movement
Volcanic Activity
Flood
Landslide
Storm
Fog
Extreme Temp.


POMPEII Legend
  • COVID-19 disasters were given a bit darker color to slightly differentiate them from other biological epidemics.

  • The area scale that was used for the central flowers is different than the one that was used for the subsidiary disasters flowers.

FIVE CATEGORIES

Among all these deadly disasters and over the 120 years, the climatological disasters ranked last in terms of the number of occurrences, as they numbered 36 disasters only, but they ranked first in terms of the total number of deaths, where they caused 11.7 million deaths.

Biological disasters ranked second in terms of the total number of deaths, differing only by a small difference from climatological disasters that ranked first, where thay caused 10.6 million deaths. Biological disasters also ranked second in terms of the number of occurrences, with a total of 374 disasters that were spotted among different locations and times.

Although meteorological disasters ranked second together with biological disasters in terms of the number of occurrences, they ranked last in terms of the total number of deaths, with a total of 1.5 million deaths.

ELEVEN SUB-CATEGORIES

When looking at the disasters sub-categories in terms of the number of deaths, drought disasters came first, as they caused 11.7 million deaths, while wildfire disasters came in last place, with 1,240 deaths.

But, when looking at the disasters sub-categories in terms of the number of occurrences, epidemics ranked first among all sub-categories, with a total number of 374 epidemic disasters that caused the death of 10.6 million people.

Fog disasters have the lowest number of occurrences, where only one severe disaster happened in United Kingdom, on December 5, 1952, on that day a cold fog covered London completely, causing the city's people to burn large quantities of coal for the purpose of heating more than usual. As a result of high atmospheric pressure and air pollution, the city was flooded with fog, smoke and polluted air for five days, which led to the direct death of 4000 people. This disaster was named “The Great Smog of London”.

GRAPE OF DEATH

Severe disasters have accumulated over the years, and their numbers were increasing significantly. Although, only 17% of the total number of disasters, that totaled 246 disasters only, occurred during the first half of the 20th century before year 1950, this percentage was responsible for 75% of deaths, with a total of 24.8 deaths.

From 1950 to 2020, 83% of disasters occured, totaled 1,194 disasters, but this large proportion was responsible for only 25% of deaths, with a total of 8.3 million deaths.

OVER DECADES

Over decades, the 3rd decade of the 20th century (from 1920 to 1929), despite the relatively small number of disasters that occurred during this decade, as only 48 disasters were reported, this decade ranked first in terms of the total number of deaths, with a total of 8.6 million deaths. During this decade, drought hit China and Russia, while epidemics swept India, and these two sub-categories were the cause of most deaths during those 10 years.

The 6th decade of the 20th century (from 1950 to 1959) ranked last among the decades in terms of the number of deaths, with only 115,791 deaths recorded. During this decade, no severe climatological disasters were reported, and only one epidemic disaster was reported in Canada in 1953, where the outbreak of polio caused the death of 481 people.

During the 2nd decade of the 21st century adding to it year 2020 (between 2010 and 2020) the number of deaths doubled compared to the 1st decade of the same century (between 2000 and 2009), where the total number of deaths reached 1.5 million deaths. the main cause of this increase is the spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has swept the world and has left more than a million deaths among the world countries.

WORLD CONTINENTS

Among the continents of the world, Asia occupied the undisputed first place in terms of the number of occurrences as well as in terms of the number of deaths, where 820 severe disasters were reported, that caused about 26 million deaths. Although climatological disasters were the least frequent category, as only 14 disasters were detected in Asia, they were the most deadly among the five categories, which alone caused 9.7 million deaths. Hydrological disasters such as floods and landslides were the most frequent disasters in Asia, as 283 disasters were recorded, which totally caused 6.8 million deaths.

In Americas, meteorological disasters such as storms and extreme temperatures were the most frequent among all other categories, as 84 disasters were reported. Biological disasters were the most deadly, with a total of 652,608 million deaths. Likewise, the case in the European continent, meteorological disasters ranked first in terms of the number of occurrences, while biological disasters came first in terms of the number of deaths, with a total of 2.7 million deaths.

Africa has been swept by biological disasters over the years, including infectious diseases and deadly viruses, as 198 biological disasters have been reported, killing about 500 thousand people. In Oceania, the geophysical disasters ranked first in terms of the number of occurrences and also in terms of the number of deaths, which reached 9,144 deaths.

DISASTERS MAP

If we have a look at the distribution of disasters among the countries of the world, you will find that India ranked first in terms of the number of severe disasters, as 189 disasters were reported, causing 9.2 million deaths.

China ranked second in terms of the number of disasters, with 115 disasters, but it came first in terms of the number of deaths, which reached 12.5 million deaths.

Bangladesh ranked third in terms of the number of disasters, with 70 severe disasters that caused about 3 million deaths, while Russia ranked third in terms of the number of deaths, with 3.9 million deaths.

THE BIG TWELVE

During this period of time, 12 disasters were spotted as the most deadly disasters, as they exceeded a million deaths.

The biggest one in terms of number of casualties was Yangtze–Huai River flood that struck China in 1931. As a result of the high level of its water, this river caused the worst natural disaster in the 20th century and the biggest flood in history in terms of the number of deaths, as the water flooded all nearby areas, forcing tens of millions of people to leave their homes and emigrate, and causing the death of 3.7 million people.

The 2nd disaster in row is the big drought that hit China in 1928 and led to a big famine, killing 3 million people. The influenza epidemic that struck Russia in 1917 came in third place, with 2.5 million deaths.

REMEMBRANCE

This was an analytical view in which I have presented to you my 1,444 sisters, who witnessed the most severe natural disasters that happened to you human beings, during your recent history. Our smallest sister has witnessed the death of 200 people while the biggest of all has witnessed the death of 3.7 million people.

Yes, our mother NATURE gets angry, her anger happened before, and is happening today. POMPEII will remain an example and a remembrance of her anger, and the facial expressions of its people in their last moments will always remind us of this tragedy, and the question is still open: Why does our mother get angry?


END





Data Sources & Resources
  • Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Emergency Events Database.

  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • Sound effects obtained from: zapsplat.com