September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11: The 2nd Most Costly Catastrophe In The World

By EconMatters

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and a decade of the lasting influence 9/11 has had on life, policy and culture worldwide.

When the attack took place, I was on my way to work, and ended up turning back to home due to the resulted evacuation of the office as well as the surrounding area.  Like almost everyone else in the world, I was glued to the TV and just watched the whole event and the aftermath in total dis-belief that a few jihad extremists could have gained enough resources right in the United States to destroy the Twin Towers.  The  sense of fear and insecurity in the air was palpable.  

The world grieved, and a chain of event was triggered in regulation, policy/procedure, and intelligence gathering on a worldwide basis.  "War on Terror" led to the launch of U.S. military action against Afghanistan and Iraq, and debates over the alleged mis-treatment of military prisoners at Gitmo      

Although the man who directed the attack--Osama Bin Laden--is now dead, killed by a U.S. Navy Seal team in Pakistan, the threat of Al-Qaida and many still active terrorist's cells remains as  New York City and Washington DC were put on high alert after the U.S. government revealed a fresh terrorist vehicle bomb threat to take place on the anniversary of 9/11.

But for now, this is a time to remember and pray for the almost three thousand identified and unidentified victims.  We may never gain our sense of security back, but at least the world is able to move on and remain resilient in the face of terror.  

While it is impossible to quantify the impact on our psyche, the graph below by American Public Media does illustrate the magnitude of the damage caused by the 9/11 attack in dollar amount.  At $37 billion, 9/11 is the only non-natural-disaster-related event among the top 25 most costly catastrophes in the world from 1985 to 2010, out-ranked only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


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