Unit 10 Disasters
Part A Listening Strategy
Listening for Major Elements in a Disaster Report To understand a report about a disaster, you need to pay special attention to when and where it occurred, the possible damage and loss, and the number of people injured or killed since these elements are the essential parts of this type of report.
You are going to hear two news reports of disasters. Pay attention to the elements mentioned above and complete the following charts.
  1. Type of disaster Time Place Number of people killed
  1) Earthquake
  2) Three days ago
  3) Turkey
  4) 10,000
Number of people injured
  5) 34,000

Type of disaster Time Place Number of people killed Number of people injured

  1) Explosion
  2) Early this morning Shijiazhuang
  3) 108
  4) 38
Number of people severely
  5) 11 injured Cause Unknown
  1. Turkey says more than 10,000 people now are confirmed dead after the earthquake three days ago. Most of the deaths are in five northwestern cities. About 34,000 people are reported injured. Rescue workers are still searching for about 35,000 missing people; many are trapped under fallen buildings. Rescuers are using cameras, dogs and listening devices to search for survivors.
  2. Early this morning a severe explosion took place in Shijiazhuang, the capital of North China’s Hebei Province, killing 108 and injuring 38, according to the Public Security Department. After treatment, 15 of those injured have been discharged from hospital care. Hospital officials say five
among the 11, who were severely injured, are now out of danger. Police are still investigating the cause of the explosion.
Part B Pre-listening Task
Questions for Discussion You are going to talk about accidents and disasters. Read the following questions and discuss them with your partner.
  1. What are natural disasters? And what are man-made disasters?
  2. What damage can they cause?
  3. Describe a disaster you yourself have experienced or one you have read or heard about. When, where and how did it happen?
  4. What are the chances of survival in a disaster?
  5. What can we do to help people in a disaster-stricken area?
  6. What should we do to prevent man-made disasters?
  5. What can we do to help people in a disaster-stricken area?
There are quite a few things we can do to help people in a disaster-stricken area. For example, we can donate money and necessities to help them fight against the natural disaster. We can provide food, clothing and medical care for them. We can provide shelter for the homeless and take them into the warmth of our own homes. We can also send volunteers or go to the area as volunteers to assist the people there in their efforts to rebuild their homes.
Additional Question for Discussion How can we reduce the damage caused by such natural disasters as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions?
Demo: Right now human beings cannot predict accurately when the next earthquake or volcanic eruption will occur. But at least we can do two things. First, the government should set up research institutions or laboratories to study how to predict quakes and try to prevent those disasters from happening or reduce their destructive power (破坏力). Second, we should take protective measures and make necessary preparations to ensure the safety of human life and property so that, when a disaster does happen,
its damage can be controlled. For example, we should build strong houses and buildings that are quake-proof.
Language Focus Here are some sentences and structures that you might find useful in discussing the above questions. Natural disasters are caused by forces of nature. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, wild fires and droughts are natural disasters that are beyond the control of humans, while plane crashes, traffic accidents, explosions and fires belong to man-made disasters. Sometimes accidents or even disasters happen due to human faults. Natural disasters like earthquakes or floods may claim hundreds of thousands of lives and leave thousands of people homeless. I read in this morning’s newspaper / heard over the radio / saw on TV a volcano erupted in … / an earthquake struck … / a plane crashed shortly after takeoff / a strong typhoon hit … / a tornado landed on … / a heavy snowstorm swept through … / a fire broke out in the warehouse of a factory /
two vehicles clashed, causing great / serious / severe / huge damage to human life and property. The damage was severe, but fortunately no one was injured. Car accidents are often caused by drivers who are drunk / try to overtake without warning. People who fail to follow traffic rules when crossing the street may be hit by a car. And they have to bear full responsibility for the accident themselves. I twisted my ankle / slipped and fell / broke my arm / broke my leg when I was playing football. It still hurts. Chances of survival in a … are almost zero / very little. If rules and regulations were strictly followed, many man-made disasters could be avoided. Professional dedication ought to be advocated. If everyone took a serious attitude toward their job, many accidents could be prevented. We should do our best to help / donate money or clothing to / show sympathy for people in a disaster-stricken area.
Listening Tasks
Surviving a Plane Crash
Word Bank survive 中逃生 fasten 牢,缚紧 roll groan aisle rescuer 营救人员 swamp jungle amazingly grab plane crash n. wetland 沼泽 n. a tropical forest (热带的)丛林 ad. extraordinarily 惊人地;了不起地 v. to seize, to snatch 抓住 an instance of an aircraft falling from the sky to hit the land or sea 飞机坠 毁 work out to find the answer to a problem by reasoning or calculating 得出答案; 算出 out of consciousness Burma losing consciousness 失去知觉 缅甸(东南亚国家)
v. not to die in an accident, etc. 从……
to make or become firmly fixed 系
v. to swing from side to side 摇晃 n. a long, low sound of suffering 呻吟声 n. passage 通道,过道 n. a person who saves people in danger
Script: Three months ago I flew to Burma with my boyfriend, Johan. The plane was a small one and our seats were near the back. The sky looked very black as we took off, and throughout the flight, we kept our seat belts fastened. Twenty minutes later we flew into a terrible storm. The plane rolled and shook in the wind. We were both very frightened. I couldn’t remember anything after that until I opened my eyes. I didn’t know where I was. Slowly I realized that the plane had crashed. I was in terrible pain and I couldn’t move. “Johan,” I called, but he didn’t reply. It was dark, but I knew that he wasn’t in his seat. I heard groans and I worked out that possibly six other people were still alive. When daylight came, I could see all the bodies around me. Johan was on the other side of the aisle, but I knew that he was dead. After a day or two the other voices stopped and I was alone. But the rescuers didn’t come. “They must be on their way,” I told myself. I didn’t know that we were in a swamp in the middle of a jungle and that the helicopters couldn’t fly in the heavy rain. Outside the window the floodwater was going
slowly up. But that water saved my life. I managed to stay alive by drinking that dirty water. At night the mosquitoes came. I was out of consciousness because of pain and hunger. Then I heard voices. I pushed my hand out of the window and amazingly someone grabbed it. The rescue team had arrived nine days after the crash.
Language and Culture Notes
  1. Background information In the year 2000 alone, there were 17 major commercial passenger airline disasters worldwide, claiming more than 800 lives. Air disasters are caused by both natural forces and human failings. The most common causes are unusual weather conditions, structural failure, engine failure,
navigational error, or terrorist attack. Planes may crash on takeoff, on landing, or on approach. They may hit a mountain, or be hit by lightning. They may overrun the runway, or collide in midair with another plane. In the passage, the crash was caused by a terrible storm and killed all the passengers except the narrator.
  2. Burma
a country located in Southeast Asia. Its full name is the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma. It has a tropical monsoon climate.
Exercise 1 Listen to the passage and complete the following chart with the missing information.
Type of disaster Time Place Cause Number of people killed
Plane crash
  1) Three months ago
  2) In the middle of a jungle
  3) A terrible storm
  4) All on board the plane except the narrator
Number of people injured

  5) One (the narrator)
Exercise 2 Listen to the passage again and write down answers to the following questions.
  1. What happened to the plane before it crashed? It rolled and shook in the wind.

  2. Did the rescue team arrive immediately after the crash? Why or why not? No. It arrived nine days later because it was raining heavily and the helicopters couldn’t fly in the heavy rain. To make the matter worse, the plane crashed in a swamp in the middle of a jungle.
  3. Was the narrator seriously injured? Yes. She was in terrible pain and couldn’t move.
  4. How did she manage to stay alive? By drinking dirty floodwater.
Speaking Tasks
Communicative Function: Talking About Disasters Inquiries Responses
Have you watched / read / Yes, I have. It’s terrible, isn’t it? heard the news this No, I didn’t. What happened?
morning? Did you hear about the terrorists’ bombing in …? Have you ever been in a(n) Yes, I have. It was a terrible flood / fire / earthquake? experience that I will never
still of
have that
vivid terrible
memories experience. When did it happen? When was it? Where did it happen?
Yesterday morning. Last year. On … Street. In downtown … Inside a building. Near where I live. In a residential area. Outside … station.
How did it happen?
Some … placed a bomb inside that building, levelling it to the ground. A commercial plane crashed into a building, causing it to crumble. A driver lost control of his vehicle, which crashed into
another one passing by. What about the casualties? Was anyone injured? … were injured and … were left homeless.
What did they do with the They were sent to hospital for
What do the government and The government is sending relief people do to help those in a workers to the area / expressing disaster-stricken area / those sympathy for families of the who are injured / families of victims. the victims? People volunteer to donate blood / donate money and supplies / help out at the scene of disaster.
Additional Vocabulary Man-made Disasters road accident accident air crash collision train collision derailment bombing gas shipwreck bridge collapse collapse fire Natural Disasters eruption drought mudflow
surgery volcanic earthquake plane landslide flood train tsunami sandstorm hailstorm
snowstorm blizzard
leakage hurricane tornado mine whirlwind cyclone
avalanche heat
explosion wave acid rain
forest fire
terrorist attack
Listen to the following conversations and repeat after the recording. Then role-play them with your partner. Conversation 1 A: Hi, Wu. You don’t look happy. What’s up? B: Bad luck! I fell off my bicycle and hurt my leg. A: Did you? That’s too bad. How did it happen? B: I was coming to school on my bike yesterday when another one from behind crashed into mine and knocked me over. Fortunately I was not seriously hurt. A: Did the rider apologize to you? B: No. He just picked up his bike and sped away, without so much as looking at me. A: It’s unbelievable! How could he behave like that? B: Well, the world is made up of all sorts. Maybe he was in a
Conversation 2 A: You know, a severe flood has hit Guangdong and Hubei Provinces.
B: So I have heard. How terrible! A: Have you ever been in a flood? B: Yes, I have. A: When was that?
B: About two years ago, before I entered this college. My hometown was hit by a serious flood. A: B: What happened? Well, it rained heavily for about two weeks and the river in our town overflowed. The water was about a meter deep. We had to be evacuated.
Conversation 3 A: Do you know a powerful earthquake struck western India on Friday? B: No. Was it a strong quake? A: Yes. It was measured
  7.9 on the Richter scale. B: Were many people hurt?
A: Yes. Over 20,000 people were killed, 33,000 were said to be injured and hundreds of thousands left homeless. B: That’s really horrible.
Now make similar conversations according to the given situations. Use the sentences and structures above in your conversations where appropriate.
  1. You lost your bicycle one day but it was recovered two days later. You tell your partner about the incident by saying “Do you know what happened to my bicycle?” Your partner will ask you questions such as when, where and how the bike was “stolen”, and how it was returned. You answer your partner’s questions according to the following pictures and the words given under each picture.
A C A. Left unlocked outside the canteen B. Could not be found after the meal C. Reappeared two days later

  2. Tell your partner about a road accident you have seen on TV, starting with “Oh, there was a terrible accident.” Your partner
will ask you questi



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