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On our planet water is a necessity to life, though it is also a powerful agent of destruction. Water calamities can take somewhat more unpretentious forms, varying from lake eruptions, fresh water flash floods, river floods to tsunamis and other forms of oceanic coastal flooding that contributes disaster (Reilly 217). Other forms of water disaster include; exertion of great forces by frozen water in form of glacier that basically alters landscapes. Geological reports also suggest that the occasional occurrence of ‘super floods’ was caused by emptying of prehistoric seas and lakes. Such super floods may have had a flow volume only matched by that of the ocean currents and it may even have affected the climate of the planet. Prehistoric comet and meteorites strikes have also been known as a major cause of super floods, in the form of Mega-Tsunamis (Reilly 217).

In our planet, with possible exemption of volcanoes, the most geologically active part is possibly the river valleys. However, river valleys ecosystems support the local propagation of fast growing plants- a characteristic that the early farmers preferred. Historically, floodplains have served as cradles to human civilization because of the number of advantages it has to the farmers who farms at their banks. 

Sediment-laden River could be the mother of human civilization, but the same characteristics that nurture human societies also threaten the same societies with calamities. Rivers that deposit life-bringing sediments all through a ‘normal’ flood period can bring deadly floods during the next period. Rivers that have fairly silt load and a fairly sheer slope, for example the Nile, they rarely experience destructive floods.  Alternatively, rivers such as the Euphrates and Tigris drain slowly after a heavy flood. This severely disrupts the agricultural cycle in Mesopotamia in high water years. The Tigris and Euphrates headwaters are closely to the rivers’ mouths causing heavy rain upstream to flow down in a high, coherent crests, greatly increasing the threat of Mesopotamian civilization to flood.

Mesopotamian civilizations, possibly due to the unpredictability of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, have had relatively pessimistic views around the world, ranging from natural calamities, hostile gods associated with prehistoric turmoil, the uncertainty of death, and the gloomy afterlife visions. Mesopotamian civilization is also attributed with writing of the first flood myth- the Gilgamesh epic. A similar version of the myth is the biblical story of the Noah’s ark.

Gilgamesh is one of the oldest documented stories. It narrates the story of a King of Uruk in Babylonia, Mesopotamia called Gilgamesh. Born of a goddess mother and a mortal father, Gilgamesh was one third man and two thirds a god (Brinkman 222).

Gilgamesh, as a young man and a god had no sympathy for the people of Uruk and because of his extraordinary abilities, he felt he was creditable of people’s praises, and in return he started to boss everyone around. This disappointed the people of Uruk and they were displeased with his behavior; he killed their sons and raped the daughters. On hearing the people's lament, goddess Aruru created a man, Enkidu, as a match for Gilgamesh (Brinkman 222).

Enkidu was created distract Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk. When he surfaced, the people praised him as if he was king and when Gilgamesh heard this he became jealous. When the two men encountered one another, they started to fight but none emerged stronger than the other. Instantly, they became best of friends.  Together, in search of fame, they undertook hazardous pursuit that incurs the discontentment of the gods. In the process Ekindu was killed. Gilgamesh then was determined to find immortality as now he become scared of his own death. It is with this chase for immortality that he came across Utnapishtim, a character like Noah in the Christian Bible (Dalley 8).

Briefly, Utnapishtim acquired the status of immortal after he build a ship to escape the great flood that was to wipe out all mankind. Utnapishtim, together with his relatives and all animal species boarded the ship to escape the flood. Then it began to rain for seven days. Utnapishtim then released birds to find whether the flood was over (Dalley 132). Finally, the ship rested on Mt Nisir marking the end of the flood. Gilgamesh search of immortal becomes impossible but soon comes to a conclusion that one day he will die as he does not accomplish the task he was given and the story comes to an end (Dalley135). The Gilgamesh story has great similarities to the Noah story found in the Christian Bible thou with slight differences.

In summary, God saw the wickedness of man and decided to wipe mankind from the earth. However, one righteous man, Noah, found favor in God’s eyes. He was instructed to build an ark for him, his family and two of all animal species in preparation for a catastrophic flood (Norman 12). Noah followed the instruction and after entering the ark, rain fell on the earth for forty days and nights. All living things were wiped out of the earth’s surface. Then Noah sent out a dove to find out whether the flood was over. Finally the ark came to rest on Ararat Mountain. Then they offered sacrifices to God.

Natural Disaster in Modern America. Americans have quite an imagination when it comes to interpreting natural disasters. In the aftermath of these disasters, God’s hand is seen all over the calamity, which is taken to mean that God is not happy with the ‘sins’ committed by the society. Just like it was during the days of Noah, the religious Americans would like to believe that the disasters are as a payback for the society’s decadence, the shedding of blood through abortions, gaysm and lesbianism (Steinberg Ted, and Steinberg 3). This ‘acts of God’ are rationalized as something beyond the human control. People chose to see the calamitous effects of whether or geophysical extremes as beings beyond human.

On August 29, 2005, the infamous Hurricane Katrina pummeled Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana was interpreted by some as an ‘act of God’ and the former US president simply said that Gods purposes her on earth is sometimes not easy to understand (Steinberg Ted, and Steinberg 314).

The Tragedy in Haiti. No word can be used to describe the tragedy that hit Haiti last year. From afar, we come across reports, watch the news, and shudder as we see a population in anguish, in a state of complete helplessness: Life forced into a stop, a real apocalypse brought forth by forces way beyond our control (Roberti).

Even if science can explain the causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it remains quite powerless to predict when they will occur. Knowing where the fault lines are helps but it's clearly not enough. In our desperation, and lack of understanding, we attribute such events to "acts of God." In this, we are no different than our ancestors, who attached deities to most aspects of the natural world.

Certainly, natural disasters have had an essential role in the history of humans from the down of civilization to the present day. Floods have changed the course of history, while the fall of civilization has been attributed to volcanic eruptions. Natural disasters also affect history more indirectly by exerting a subtle influence over human culture and beliefs.

Code: Sample20

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