Typhoon Schoolfusion

On August 22, 2002, a monsoon ploughed through the northwest Pacific Ocean into the southeast of Japan. As it moved inward, the storm began to pick up and eventually turned into a typhoon. On August 26, 2002, the storm swept through the Amami Islands of Japan, where it left many people homeless and caused at least two deaths. This was only the beginning of the disastrous storm for those two events had only helped amplify it. The storm continued its journey entering the city of Goheung, South Korea with winds as high as 140 km/h or 85 mph for 10 whole minutes. Even though the typhoon weakened as it continued through Asia, the rainfall peaked in Gangneung at 35.33 inches. Many homes were destroyed and crops ruined. It killed at least 223 people and caused damage that was worth at least 4.2 billion dollars. Not only did the typhoon wreak havoc in South Korea, it also rained catastrophic events in North Korea, which resulted in 26,000 people being homeless and approximately three people being dead. In addition to that, it ruined the crops that were already minimal and worsened the ongoing famine. This deadly typhoon, one of the worst in history, didn’t end until September 4, 2002. These typhoons begin forming when the surface of the ocean becomes warmer, which also causes a rise in humidity and together, they create an imbalance in air pressure. When this imbalance is amplified, the wind starts blowing toward a center of low pressure and it carries wet air with it, which creates the “eye” of the typhoon. Once this eye of low pressure is completely built, the storm begins to spiral (instead of going vertically)  and becomes even  stronger and it becomes a typhoon when the winds exceed 74 mph.

“Typhoon Rusa can be seen striking the small islands of the southernmost Japan in this true color image taken on August 20, 2002… Rusa packed sustained winds of 86 miles per hour and was located roughly 1,000 miles south of Tokyo”


This typhoon could not have been prevented for it was a natural disaster, however it could’ve resulted in less losses if the government had been more prepared. The government didn’t find measures to help lessen the damage, instead they focused on fixing the damage after the typhoon came through. In an interview with Jeong Sang-man, president of the Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation (KSHM):

“The biggest problem with the government’s response to natural disasters is that it focuses mainly on recoveries,” he said. “For example, every time a major typhoon approaches Korea, the government tells people that the typhoon is coming and how strong it may be, but it barely talks about how they should act when it hits their regions. The result is unnecessary deaths and bigger financial damages.”

It appears that there are still many countries today facing large casualties due to these natural disasters, because they don’t have the resources and funds to help their people understand how to fend off these natural disasters. Instead, the catastrophic events occur and the government try to clean it up, but the smarter and more efficient way is to warn the people and give them their options that will result in the least amount of damages. These typhoons result in long term damages: widespread destruction of buildings, homes, roads and  increased mortality rates and illnesses. 

As this third year of high school nears summer and senior year is right around the corner, I know my high school career is coming to a close. All of my life I’ve always thought that I wanted to major in biology, go to medical school, and become a doctor, however there are some events that recently took place in my life that have made me reconsider that plan. I must admit the last couple of months have just been confusing for me, to say the least. First, I didn’t know what classes I wanted to take for my senior year and second, I didn’t know what I wanted to be anymore (there are many other reason that have not been listed). All of my life, I have always had a plan for everything. I had a goal for everything. I had a map for everything. But now, I’m just so lost, so confused, and so puzzled. I can feel the fear of not knowing something and the fear of not being able to control something emerge. 

This state of confusion is like the typhoon for it took many different events and reasons for me to result in this “catatonic” state of mind, it wasn’t just one thing that left me confused.They come from many problems & result in a crisis when these things build up and worsen the situation. Even though earlier in this post, I had criticized the government for not preparing the people better, I think that because the typhoon occurred and because it destroyed many structures, the government had to rebuild many things and when they did this, they strengthened the infrastructures (that were destroyed) during that process of reconstruction. Even though there were losses and destruction was involved, those catastrophic events helped strengthen Korea and helped prepare it for the future deadly disasters. Maybe like Korea, I need to experience this disaster or crisis in my life not knowing what I want to be, what I want to learn, and what I really want for myself in order to find out and discover what I want. In other words, it’s like breaking down a firm ideology in my mind (the storm destroying everything) and then slowly widening my vision and then allowing for me to experience new things (the reconstruction of new things) in order for me to find myself again.

You know they say “after the darkest storm, the sun will always shine again” and I believe in it. Even though Korea faced devastating consequences as a result of Typhoon Rusa, they were able to recover by rebuilding the homes that were destroyed, the roads that were ruined, and etc. Even though Typhoon Schoolfusion (Confusion About School) has left me in the dark and puzzled because of an accumulation of sleepless nights due to homework, low grades, and rigorous courses, the way I rebuild “my world” or each event that occurs from now until the future will help me determine what I want in my life. 


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