Sometimes it seems as if some U.S. cities cannot get a break from the forces of Mother Nature. This is the case with Laguna Beach, California. Over the last several years, the town known for its beaches and glamorous residents has experienced landslides, floods and fires.
Geography and climate have a great impact on the natural disasters a city experiences. Summer wildfires deplete the area surrounding Laguna Beach of vegetation, which soaks and holds back rainwater. Consequently, landslides and floods follow heavy rains. For example, the area had record-breaking rainfall in late December 2010, which caused $12 million in damage to homes and businesses, according to “The Orange County Register.” Residents have also blamed over-development in floodplains, insufficient flood channels and a lack of disaster response efforts for aiding in the destruction caused by weather-related events.
Just like households and businesses, communities must also create emergency preparedness and disaster response plans. These plans should examine measures that can help lessen the damage natural disasters can cause, establish evacuation routes and name places residents can go to for disaster relief services and emergency shelters. While having a disaster plan in place is important, it is equally important for communities to hold emergency preparedness workshops that educate its residents, as well as a plan for recovery. Government buildings are not immune to disasters, and having a plan for continuity can help relief efforts flow more smoothly.
[photo: Orange County Archives]