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Natural Disasters

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natural disastersNatural Disasters provides you with the opportunity to discuss how natural events remind us how small and vulnerable we are living on our planet. These activities are centred around the theme of Identity and Well-being which explores how we learn and adjust to the world around us.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Word ListExtension
Natural events remind us that we are small and vulnerable—and that living on this dynamic planet will always entail risk. Watch the video and fill in the missing words. What four natural events do they mention?

Click here to view transcript and answers

1. Earthquakes
2. Volcanoes
3. Tornadoes
4. Hurricanes


Natural disasters are part of the way the planet works. In the ideal world, we would all live in places that aren’t affected by natural hazards. We wouldn’t live near coastlines; we wouldn’t live along the San Andreas fault in California; we wouldn’t live underneath the volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.

But we live where our homes are. I mean, those are the places that are important to us. And then there are many people that don’t have choices. The Museum is presenting this exhibit to describe these events to people so they have a better understanding of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornadoes. But more than that – to begin thinking about the risks associate with them. As the climate warms, we expect there to be more severe storms, more severe droughts, more wildfires, and to some extent over the last decade we’ve seen just that.

There’s no way we’re going to avoid the natural hazards on a dynamic Earth, but there are certainly ways that we can learn to live with them to mitigate the risks to society.

Read the text about Natural Disasters and then match the definition with the words and phrases in the text.

Hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones are the most violent storms on Earth. They form over warm ocean waters near the equator. By the time they strike land, the wind can reach speeds of up to 150 mph and cover huge areas and distances. They often bring heavy rain and generate high waves, resulting in coastal flooding.

Hurricanes occur on a much smaller scale but can have higher wind speeds with some gales blowing at over 300 mph. They can also cause considerable destruction.

Earthquakes like volcanoes occur where the Earth’s tectonic plates meet. The movement of the plates causes the ground to shake. If the magnitude is strong enough, it will collapse buildings and cut off water, electricity and other vital supplies. People are also at risk of tsunamis if they live near the coast, or are hit unexpectedly by further aftershocks.

Read the text about a ship sailing in a terrible storm.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in these activities about natural disasters:

  • aftershocks
  • considerable destruction
  • cyclones
  • dynamic planet
  • earthquakes
  • natural disasters
  • natural hazards
  • magnitude
  • mitigate
  • risks to society
  • severe droughts
  • severe storms
  • tornadoes
  • typhoons
  • vital supplies
  • violent typhoon
  • volcanic eruptions
  • volcanoes
  • vulnerable
  • wildfires
Write a story in 140-190 words in an appropriate style. You see this post on a website and decide to send a short story.

Our website would like to publish short stories from talented young writers. Your story must begin with this sentence: When I went out that evening, I had no idea what was about to happen.

Your story must include:

  • a warning sign
  • a natural disaster

Self-assessment checklist

  • Have you included all the required parts and the final sentence from the exam task?
  • Have you included everything from your writing plan?
  • Have you used a range of adverbs to add interesting details?
  • Have you made any grammar mistakes?
  • Are there any mistakes in spelling and punctuation?
  • Have you checked the word count?

Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.

We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B2 First Exam.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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