Follow istudy_uk on Twitter



Hazards & Disasters

i-study store, revision guides for IB and IGCSE
Members area for Geography

Resources, activities, links & videos for the IB Geography; Hazards & disasters unit. Revision pages in the store soon.

characteristics of hazards

Hazard: A threat (whether natural or human) that has the potential to cause loss of life, injury, property damage, socio-economic disruption or environmental degradation.

IB Geography, hazard characteristics

Hazard Event: the occurrence (realization) of a hazard, the effects of which change demographic, economic and/or environmental conditions.

"Distinguish between the chosen hazards in terms of their spatial extent, predictability, frequency, magnitude, duration, speed of onset and effects." volcanic hazards
IB Geography, Volcano locations


IB Geography volcanoes worksheetVolcano characteristics outline sheet

Case Study: Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat.

Montserrat is a Caribbean island that was suffered significant environmental and economuc damage when the Suffriere Hills volcano started to erupt.

The capital city Plymouth has been abandoned leading to to forced migration within the island but also to the UK.

Watch the videos apposite and use the links below to complete this case study worksheet.

IB Geography, hazards, motserrat map & timeline
hurricane characteristics

Hurricanes are low pressure systems that bring strong winds, large waves and heavy rain. They are formed over seas/oceans with a temperature of 27o or more down to a depth of 60m. Their specific requiremenst mean that they occur in distinct areas of the planet.

Originating as tropical storms, it is the Coriolos force that starts the spinning motion that characterises them. For this to occur they must be 5o or more from the equator.

IB Geography hurricanes worksheet Hurricane characteristics outline sheet

IB Geography, Hazards, Hurricane paths
Hurricane Paths

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina reached Category 5 strength while out at sea. By the time it hit New Orleans it had weakened to a Category 3 hurricane but still caused considerable damage and shone the spotlight on Americas ability to deal with a severe hazard event and the emergency response in the aftermath.

Use the information below and in the videos to complete the Case Study worksheet.

Hurricane Katrina information pdf

IB Geography hurricane Katrina Case StudyKatrina Case Study outline sheet

drought hazard characteristics

Horn of Africa Drought 2011

Read the following articles & make case study notes:

Ethiopia in drought (Huffington Post 2011)

Causes of 2011 drought (Guardian 2011)

2011 drought (Wikipedia)

Interactive map showing impact of 2011 East African drought (Guardian 2011)

Pre-famine conditions

From one drought to another

Long term strategies

UK Aid pledge

Chernobyl nuclear accident hazard characteristics

Chernobyl (National Geographic)

Explain whether you think there is a relationship between the frequency and magnitude of a hazard event.

Write a paragraph to compare the effectiveness of predicting any 2 of the above hazards.

Vulnerability: the susceptibility of a community to a hazard or to the impacts of a hazard event.


IB Geography volcano crater

Risk: The probability of a hazard event causing harmful consequences(expected losses in terms of deaths, injuries, property damage, economy and environment).

2014 10 Riskiest Cities in the World

Make notes about the different methods of predicting erruptions.

Predicting Montserrat eruptions

Predicting Hurricanes

BBC article (May 2011): Can earthquakes be predicted

Disaster: A major hazard event that causes widespread disruption to a community or region that the affected community is unable to deal with adequately without outside help.

How have the intensity and impact of disaster events changed over space and time?

Look at the pictures & follow the links. Answer/discuss the subsequent questions:

Disaster occurance frequency


Changes in disaster numbers

1) Describe the trends in disaster frequency (total disasters & types of disasters)

2) Offer explanations as to why you think there are increasing numbers of disasters & why specific ones are increasing. (You should consider issues such as: increasing populations, urban areas, climate change, agricultural practises & deforestation).

Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Risk Management Asia

3) How can the risks of disasters be reduced?

4) Follow this link (UN disaster risk reduction) & explain what you think the statement means:

"There is no such thing as a 'natural' disaster, only natural hazards."

Responses to the risk of hazard events.

Preparing for hurricanes - before the event

The Importance of Insurance

Insurance cover for property and posessions is an option that people often choose to pay for since it means that in the case of a disaster (or fire/theft etc) the insurance company will pay the bill for repairs and replacements.

In areas that are vulnerable to natural hazards it obviously makes a lot of sense to insure valuable possesions. Unfortunately in areas of higher risk the cost of insurance is also higher, which means that less people can afford to be comprehensively covered.

It is often the poorest sectors of society that lack adequate insurance, and these are the people that can least afford to replace their posessions or rebuild their properties after a hazard event.

Watch the videos opposite and answer the following:

  1. Explain why having appropriate insurance cover is so important in high risk areas.
  2. Why do so many people not have it?
  3. Why cannot you not leave it unitl the last minute to get insurance cover?

Haiti Vs Chile earthquake: Comparison in terms of magnitude and effects

Read this article (the week). Make notes about the magnitude & effects of the 2 earthqaukes. Explain the importance of wealth, regulation and preperation in reducing the risk of a natural hazard becoming a disaster.

The importance of aid in disaster reduction.

Look at this infographic - describe the main pattern of the aid donations. Explain why interntional aid can be so vital in reducing the occurance of natural disasters.

Article: Pakistan still unprepared for natural disasters (Guardian 2012)

Prepare Immediate Reconstruction

Nuclear Accident Preparartion

IB Geography volcanic crater lake
IB Geography revision guides link