Thursday, December 1, 2011

Natural Disasters

People at some parts of the world consistently suffer due to severe weather conditions. Those Conditions cause much harm to the environment and the property. Thus, as concluded by the experts, we can define this active phenomenon of ‘Natural Disasters’ as: A natural disaster is a calamity or catastrophe brought about by a natural occurrence such as a Thunderstorm, tornado, earthquake, etc., which results in a disruption of the normal functioning of the facility. Basically, natural disasters are the effects of Natural Hazards which can be understood according to experts as: Naturally-occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events having Atmospheric, geologic and hydrologic origins on solar, global, regional, national and local Scales. They include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, tsunamis, floods and Drought. (UNESCO Earth Sciences Programme)
Here, we have illustrated the facts regarding ‘Natural Disasters’ and analyzed as well as observed that damages caused by these ‘Natural Disasters’ can be reduced through many of the major appropriate ways.
Before we go further, we should have this fact in our knowledge that why natural disasters are preferred as one of the most major issues:
• Natural disasters are important to local ecosystems eg, in Australia smoke from bushfires are needed for seeds to germinate.
• Natural disasters often affect people economically and emotionally, other than that
Property is directly affected as well.
• If we would be aware of the natural disasters and their causes, this would guide us regarding the ways of the prevention of bushfire damage.
• Environment is affected by the natural disasters in a number of ways examples: Land, air and water, these are the significant broad areas which can be affected by the natural disasters.
"There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? (Leo Buscaglia)” (Disaster Quotations – Quotations,
Researchers have declared that capacity of natural disasters is increasing concerning frequency, complexity, scope and destruction. Millions of people have lost their life because of earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions and wildfires during the past two decades. Besides that, the society also suffered from vast economic damages suffering a great loss in every way.
Now let’s us focus on each of the basic natural disasters so as to understand the causes and effects of these disasters which in return, may help in forecasting their occurrence more precisely and thus reducing their destructive effects.



The layers of the Earth’s crust move towards or away from each other or they can also slide past each other, this movement is many times not smooth so a stress in the crust is being caused due to the friction between the moving layers. Thus, this action leads to faults and the rocks are broken and moved in abrupt jerk within the crack. This results in the occurrence of shock waves because of the active energy stored in the rocks. Therefore, the tremors and vibrations of the Earth’s surface is considered as earthquakes.

Areas under the affect of earthquake

It’s been found out those earthquakes most occur around the Pacific Ocean. One more foremost zone of earthquakes extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Himalayas. Earthquakes mostly occur along the plane boundaries. Boundaries were earth layers are moving towards each other fall under the earthquake zone.

The effects of Earthquakes

The dreadful vibrations under the ground can cause many buildings to collapse which results in great loss of lives and property. Many times, when an earthquake occurs, the gas mains are broken due to the great shock which further leads towards more damage. When earthquakes occur under the sea or close to the coast, tsunamis can occur. Thus; we can understand through this reality that tsunamis are related to earthquakes.

Factors influencing the amount of damage caused by earth quakes.

One of the major factors is the magnitude of the earthquake. Much of the destruction can be caused by the severe earthquake measure which is above 7 on the Richter scale. Another main factor is the size of the population. Most probably, heavily populated areas suffer the more severe damage. Third main factor is the closeness to the epicenter. Areas located near the epicenter suffer a great damage.

Reduction of damage

To prevent he earthquakes is a very difficult task but, many ways can be applied to reduce the damages caused by the earthquakes. One way is to design and build such strong buildings that can survive the hard vibrations within the ground. Other than that it’s necessary to realize that in some areas which come under the zone of earthquakes, the number of buildings and their heights must be in a certain limit.
As for the damage caused by the occurrence of the fire in the period of earthquakes, such systems can be installed which may cut off the electricity and the suppliers of gas automatically. In order to save the buildings from great damage of fire during an earthquake, nonflammable materials must be brought under use during the construction of the building. Drills can be carried out in some countries which can prepare the population in order to lessen the damage and save as much lives as possible.
The prediction of earthquakes is also a very specific way to reduce the loss of lives. Scientist uses a highly developed equipment to predict he earthquakes, secondly in many countries which are situated near coastal areas, tsunamis warning systems are playing a prominent role. For example In Hawaii, there experts have arranged special tsunamis warning systems.


A volcano is an opening in the crust of the Earth which ejects materials such as gases and magma. The ejection of these materials as considered as the volcanic eruptions. It can also refer to the features like mountains.


Magma when ejected from the Earth’s interior reaches the surface of the Earth. This leads to the concept of the word ‘Lava’.

Areas under the affect of Volcanoes

Areas within plate boundaries are usually under the affect of volcanoes. Besides this, they occur in the form of a belt around the areas of the Pacific Ocean.

The effects of volcanoes

Much destruction can be expected due to a volcanic eruption as it kills many people and destroy settlements. Many times ashes combine with rain water and then produce a thick flowing mud which cans burry thousands of buildings and farmlands. Other than that, a vast amount of carbon dioxide can also result in the loss of several lives. Besides this, those volcanic eruptions may also result in the occurrence of tsunamis due to the huge destructive waves in the ocean.

Reduction of damage

Drills are being organized for the people living near in the areas near volcanoes. They are being taught ways to cope with the nearby eruptions. In sensitive areas students are given helmets for their safety. However, researchers have concluded that in the areas where a certain volcano has not erupted for years then that volcano must be considered as more dangerous as people are normally not prepared for its eruption.


The covering of water over a land, which is normally dry, is identified as a flood.


The causes of floods are mostly related to weather such as continues rainfall, melting of snow as well as storm surge.

Continuous rain

The continuous fall of rain can force a tendency for a river to flood. Similarly, when rain falls, water can start to flow over the land resulting in a severe flood.

Melting of snow

It’s also one of the major causes of flood, as the temperature rises, areas where a heavy snow fall had occurred start to get warmer ,thus, snow starts to melt fast which then is the cause of a destructive flood.

Storm surge

Flooding of coastal settlements results in storm surges which are the ultimate cause of the tropical storms, about to be discussed later.

Areas under the affect of floods

Areas near coast, sea and river are considered as the responsive areas in case of floods.

The effects of floods

Flood can drift away an established colony or area in a way that it wraps all the living things and their property and thus destroys the real image of the area. Areas including farms are ruined as well, the vast amount of water cause a severe damage to the plants, fruits and vegetables.

Reduction of damage

Although floods can be predicted by the experts but, most of the floods occur under sudden Happenings. However, it must be brought under observation that the areas which are very much near to the sea can come under destruction at once if a flood occurs.

Tropical storms

Some coastal areas in the tropics become the victim of violent tropical storms every year. These severe storms carry heavy rain and strong winds with them. The word tropical storm has other names as well depending on the type of location. Most probably in Japan, Philippines and China they are known by the name of typhoons. Similarly in Bangladesh and Australia they are identified as tropical cyclones whereas in the Atlantic they are called hurricanes.

Reason for the formation of tropical storms

Tropical storms build up over the temperate oceans when the temperature of the surface increases. It’s been that stated that when the air around the sea gets warm or heated, it develops and rises very swiftly and thus creates and area under an extreme low pressure. After that clouds and rain are formed as there occurs an increase in the heights of the warm moist air. Then after the clash with high pressure this rising warm air absorbs a greater amount of moisture which ultimately causes cumulonimbus clouds and heavy rain.

The effects of tropical storms

Mostly the densely populated areas can be affected in a very severe way causing harm to lives and property. It’s been found out that storms having wind speeds of more than 200 km per hour can destroy crops and houses, uproot trees, damage ships and overturn cars. Storm surges are caused by these tropical storms. They occur when the surface of the ocean is raised by the strong winds into a giant wave. Coastal settlements can be put to harm by these storm surges. As for the green areas, farmers can lose large portion of their land.

Reduction of damage

Changing the house structures and crop patterns can help reduce the damage caused by flood. Houses can be built in such a manner that at least people may find ways to save their lives. Other than that, drought control warning systems can also help in reducing the damage caused by flood. In order to have a good economic development, good governance and proper environmental laws are considered as very prominent. Above all, a greater conception of the processes leading towards the contribution of the increment of a flooding propensity can help to lessen the unpleasant effects on human life, the environment.


The phenomenon of a long period in which either the rain falls in a very small amount or it doesn’t fall at all, As drought sets in as the rainfall which is expected doesn’t fall or does not last long. Droughts lead towards the concept of hazards as mostly people are not prepared for an unreliable fall of the rain on their farming areas. Desserts are one of the major examples of the areas under the effect of drought.

The effects of droughts

People living in the areas under the effect of droughts suffer great hardships as they don’t find better solutions to cope with the abrupt lengthy periods of dry weather. As there is a decrease in rainfall, people takes the advantage of the wells over and over again which Leads to the over usage of the wells. Areas under the effect of droughts suffer as their soil of becomes poor and large areas of land becomes infertile. As a result, animals become the victims of death in large number and quality of the crop decreases, the serious lack of food results in famine and death. When people start to migrate in order to remain safe against the harmful effects of the droughts, a large number of people may starve and die on the way.


Scientist and researchers have concluded that although it’s not possible to prevent these natural disasters to occur but we can find and arrange developing ways regarding scientific and technical knowledge in order to increase the resistance against these natural disasters. Warning alarms thus, can play a very important role for this cause. The United Nations General Assembly is following an active process in order to arrange ways to reduce the damages caused by the natural disasters and it also asserted an International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. However, it can be observed that alert and active steps must be taken at all times for the safety of the lives of the people, their property and the society.
Thus, it’s been proven that many of the major suitable ways can be applied in order to reduce the damages caused by these ‘Natural Disasters’.
Having an awareness and knowledge regarding these disasters is a must as awareness and knowledge is related to education which leads towards the ways of living a better life. "Knowledge is going to make you stronger. Knowledge is going to let you control your life.
Knowledge is going to give you the wisdom to teach their children. Knowledge is the thing that makes you smile in the face of disaster. (Avery Brooks)” (Disaster Quotations – Quotations,

Interview: Mr.Kalim A.Siddiqui

Mr.Kalim A.Siddiqui is the President of Petroleum Marketing Business in Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited (BPPL). He has done his bachelor in Chemical Engineering and Masters in Chemistry. He is a dominant market player.Presently,He is leading Byco’s Petroleum Marketing Business.He possesses global experience in business development,system re-engineering,streamlining processes,management of supply chain,marketing and sales and operations management.Since 30 years,he has been holding various senior management positions in the oil industry.
He has served the oil industry to a greater extent and it is his sincerity and hard work that has been serving the Petroleum Marketing Business in an outstanding way. Jewel Time had the honor of meeting Mr.Kalim A.Siddiqui who has proved to be a faithful and an exceptional professional.

JT. Tell us something about your professional background.

I am a Chemical Engineer by profession. I have completed my education from United Kingdom and I have worked there as well. Besides that, I have also worked in USA and Australia. I initially joined Caltex and worked there for almost 20 years. After that, I moved to PSO in 2001 and stayed there for 8 years. I was the Managing Director in PSO.Currently; I am working as the President, Petroleum Marketing in Byco. I was also part of the board of management at PSO and PRL.Presently; I am also a member of Board of Investment (BoI).

JT. What are the areas of operation of Byco in Pakistan?

I am looking after and heading the oil marketing company in Byco. We have redefined the region of Byco marketing two years back. In fact, we have redefined the whole direction. We have then made a vision that we want to be among the top 3 OMCs of the country. We are also trying to expand our retail network. We have given growth to our system on a fast track. Two years back when I joined Byco, there were about 32 outlets but, now we have over 206 retail outlets. These outlets are present in all of the four provinces of Pakistan, covering the areas from Karachi to Azad Kashmir. We are trying to increase this number by the end of this year. We are almost the 5th largest OMC among an industry of 12.However,we were on the 10th position earlier.

JT. Please explain the petroleum marketing business of the company.

We believe in a strong supply chain infrastructure. We are exporting as well as supplying the power. Imported expression is expected to increase. Currently, our turnover of 10 months is over 30 billion. We are building all of our activities according to good supply chain.
Our stations have reached the number of 206.We have started our active workings in Kemari and other areas. Besides that, we have finalized the arrangements on linear basis. There are about 13 operative stations in Karachi and another 3 to 4 will be operative in the next two to three months. We have about 4 to 5 stations in Lahore and the number is expected to reach from 8 to 9.We are trying to bring stations in urban sectors as well.

JT. What are the major challenges faced by the oil marketing companies in Pakistan and abroad?

In Pakistan, the formula of pricing and margin is observed as one of the lowest in the region. An oil marketing company has to build a good infrastructure and there is always the need of good equipments for the retail outlets. We have to monitor the quality and supply of the products. If the pricing and margin structure is not giving out a fair return then an oil marketing company faces many difficulties. Our industry is not completely deregulated yet. The most necessary step is to deregulate our industry. We had to face a major crash in December 2008 due to the overall fall of the oil prices.

JT. How has the current law and order situation affected your company?

Every other day, we have to shut down our business because of the situation of law and order. Many times strikes are being called. These strikes include transport strikes as well as strikes due to law and order. Besides that, supply chain gets disturbed because of the problems faced by the system of petrol pumps.

JT. What are your short term and long term strategies for marketing in Pakistan?

Our eventual goal is to be progressive in the market place; we want to be a major player in the market. Right now, our main objective is to be among the top 3 OMCs of the country. We want to supply the quality product and services to the customers. As far as deregulated market is concerned, consumer gets benefit in a long term strategy. We want to come forward as an integrated player in the long term strategy.

JT. What is Pakistan’s biggest challenge today in terms of growth and development?

As far as law and order situation is concerned, the continuity and the proper direction of the policy of the government are very necessary. These projects are considered as very capital intensive projects. When the policy of the government changes, it effects the investment and business policy of a company to a greater extent. There is a need of a proper and integrated energy policy. Government should focus on a long term vision and should announce a long term consistence policy.

JT. As a major oil refinery in Pakistan, what changes would you like to propose in government policies to assure better market conditions?

The first step which must be taken is to deregulate the whole industry and it should be market based. We should manage ourselves according to the dynamics of the international markets. Consistency of policy must be focused so that people invest with trust and make long term business plans. There is also a need of proper political stability and law and order.

JT. Have increases in fuel prices or other factors like the current law and order situation in the country, hampered future expansion plans?

The present situation is affecting the system of investment for sure. The lack in the overall circular debt is affecting the energy. Besides that, the disturbance in the current law and order situation affects the system of fuel prices which in turn disturbs the whole network of the business. Long term solution is needed in this case.

JT. What are your strengths in the face of such stiff competition?

I think living playing field and a healthy environment is good for a competition. According to me, a monopolistic situation should not be present at all.A competition ultimately provides benefit to the customers. The industry which will provide more benefits, facilities and products to the customers will survive better.

JT. Byco has been chosen as the Best Petroleum Company in the 6th Consumer Choice Awards 2010.What do you think were the reasons behind it and what role has Petroleum Marketing business played in it?

We got this award as we proved to be the fastest growing petroleum marketing company in the very difficult times. We achieved the growth of almost 300 %.We are still the fastest growing company this year. We have been trying to introduce new concepts. As it’s our objective to be a major player so we run our system according to this objective.

JT. Where do you see Pakistan in the next decade?

It mainly depends on the political situations. Pakistan has got very much potential. There is just the need of proper management of the available potentials. If we properly follow the plan of long term benefit then I believe that Pakistan will progress. We have a good market size. Pakistan can never progress unless and until the tax system will be improved. The development of Pakistan highly depends on the political stability as well as the present law and order situation. We should focus highly on the economic policies.

JT. Being a responsible professional, how do you manage your other activities in life?

I believe in proper time management. I like to give time to my social life as well. I try to relax and give quality time to my family in the evening. Other than that, I like to spend some time with my own self.

JT. What message would you like to give our readers?

Pakistan has got very much potential, resources and talent but, unfortunately we don’t utilize such blessings. If these blessings would be utilized with sincerity then Pakistan would become a developed country for sure.