National Geographic Disaster Planet

Nature’s time bomb, unpredictable, unleashing awesome power, that can wipe out landscapes and lives in an instant. These are some of the world’s most violent disasters, and the only way to stay safe is to stay out of the way. Monserrat a tiny Caribbean island paradise just 16.5 kilometers long by 10 wide, and although most do not know, the island hides a ticking time bomb. Supriya Hills a volcanic mountain rising 915 meters above the sea. The good news it has not had a major eruption in centuries, mother of six Delia palms makes a living farming the rich soil on the mountain slopes. She is a proud islander. But in 1995, Montserrat sleeping giants suddenly wakes with a deafening roar. Over the next two years island is not deal with the volcano’s tantrums. It screams best serve steam and clouds of ash that cover the island. To protect the population the government sets up an exclusion zone, but it covers almost 2/3 of the island, where nearly everyone lives and works. And it covers the farming field’s daily funds only source of income.

After years of the evacuations islanders are unsure of the real threat. Stuck between a big fiery rock and a hard place, the farmers have no choice but to tend their fields within the danger zone. Even so they take precautions. So, the Islanders adapt and life goes on. Until June 25, 1997 when seismometers jump to life, the island’s volcano is building to a climax. It erupts firing a cloud of ash and steam into the air. And down in the valley farmers are working in the fields, but the weather is bad and they can see what is happening on the mountain. Across the island sirens go off, and then alerted imminent danger is broadcast over local radio stations. But Delia pond and her family are among several farmers, who do not hear the warning. Suddenly, the volcano ejects an avalanche of superheated gas and rock. It is heading straight for the farmers. In the valley Delia looks up to the site of white hot lava bearing down on her. He and her family rushed to escape. A second blast fills the valley with lava. A third monster eruption spews out a tsunami of red-hot rock. It spills over the valley walls and races down the mountain at 128 kilometers per hour. Other farmers still in the fields run for Hill praying to make it to safety, but not everyone will escape.

Half a world away, another one of nature’s time bombs takes. This one, in the Austrian Alps, at a ski resort of Galtur the weather is terrible. The area has been pounded with snow for over two weeks and heavy winds battered the village. The screaming at speeds over 120 kilometers per hour, the ski slopes are closed. And on February 18th the threat of avalanches shuts down the only road leading into Galtur, 4,000 people are cut off from the outside world. But people in the heart of avalanche country are prepared. Galtur has three color coded avalanche zones. The high-risk red zone surrounds the village. In the potentially dangerous yellow zone all houses and hotels a reinforced. The Green Zone at the heart of the village is considered safe, a place beyond the reach any avalanche. As long as people stay in the green zone they should be safe. But high above Galtur on Greece cough mountain the snowpack creeks under its enormous weight.

The next moment a giant snow slap breaks away. A wave of snow hits the out a yellow zone with a false over 25 ton truck hitting a brick wall at 80 kilometers per hour. It wipes out the supposedly avalanche prove buildings in an instant. Then it is under through the village like a tornado, blowing away anyone in its path. It finally ends a hundred meters inside the so-called safe zone at the center of Galtur. In seconds the village is decimated. Mangled cars litter the landscape; buildings in the village were not made to withstand an avalanche. So, is the enormous pressure of snow builds up inside intereshale explode. Shook villages immediately search for survivors, working in lines they prove the snow to locate hidden bodies. No one knows how many are trapped. As darkness falls the temperature plummets well below freezing. But for those buried beneath the snow the greatest threat is not cold, it to speak citation. Rescue teams race to pull people out, before they suffocated under the snow.