IELTS: Describe a natural disaster: What was it? Where did it happen? How did people react?

IELTS: describe a natural disaster

This IELTS cue card asks you to talk about a natural disaster that happened and how people reacted to it.

Sometimes the wording of the cue card might be:
  • "a natural disaster in your area",
  • "a natural disaster in your country",
  • "a natural disaster you read about/saw on the news", etc.

which you should reflect in your answer; but the main topic is a natural disaster.

Describe a natural disaster you heard about.

You should say:

  • What it was and where it happened
  • When it happened
  • How you heard about it
and explain how people reacted when they heard about this disaster.

IELTS Sample Answer

Well, there have been many disasters in the news, in various different countries, but one I remember hearing about just the other day was in California, where they have had a severe drought for a long time.

Just recently they suffered severe storms caused by El NiƱo – and there was flash flooding and mudslides which caused a lot of damage to the area, even though they badly needed the torrential rains to ease the drought conditions.

The drought was so bad there that the authorities estimated that they would need years of such heavy storms and drenching rains to recover from the water shortfall they have experienced in recent years.

El Nino is a weather phenomenon which is caused by the Pacific Ocean becoming warmer and this then has an interaction with the atmosphere and this climatic reaction has been the reason behind many dramatic and disastrous changes in weather across the world and natural disasters such as flooding and storms.

Previous storms in California caused by El Nino were responsible for people dying, roads being washed away, and entire fields of crops being completely destroyed, so storms like this have the potential for disastrous results for the area.

California is frequently battered by Pacific storms causing flooding which causes a lot of damage and can be fatal in some cases. They are also still concerned about further flash floods and mudslides, specifically in the areas which were hit by the wildfires last year.

In some areas, residents have been already been advised to evacuate to safer zones, and people are busy implementing natural disaster management measures in preparation for worse storms predicted to be on the way – by stockpiling sandbags and taking other measure to try and mitigate the worst of the damaging rains and winds afflicting the area.

How would you answer this IELTS speaking question about describe a natural disaster?

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