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.
Hazard Event: the occurrence (realization) of a hazard, the effects of which change demographic, economic and/or environmental conditions.
Case Study: Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat
Montserrat is a Caribbean island that 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.
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.
Case Study: 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.
Case Study: Horn of Africa
Read the following articles & make case study notes:
Case Study: Chernobyl, Ukraine
Chernobyl (National Geographic)
Vulnerability: the susceptibility of a community to a hazard or to the impacts of a hazard event.
Why do people live in dangerous places?
People choose to live in dangerous locations around the world for various reasons, but in doing so they increase their vulnerability to hazards.
Other factors such linked to development can play a major role - infrastructure quality, technology for prediction of hazard events.
Hurricane prone locations
Factors affecting Vulnerability
Availability & preparedness of emergency services
Risk: The probability of a hazard event causing harmful consequences(expected losses in terms of deaths, injuries, property damage, economy and environment).
Predicting Hazard Events
BBC article (May 2011): Can earthquakes be predicted
Risk Perception Factors
Degree of control
If there is a degree of control over the risk (white water rafting, rock climbing) the perception of the risk decreases. If there is no control (earthquakes) the risk perception increases.
Understanding of the Hazard
Understanding the hazard (hurricanes) prompt a lower risk perception than not understanding it (nuclear accidents).
Loss of Life
Disasters that have a large number of fatalities (Asian Tsunami 2004) increase the perception of risk in comparison to low fatality events such as floods.
High media coverage increase the perception of the risk (Japan earthquake and tsunami 2011).
Frequency of onset
Disasters with immediate effects (earthquakes/tsunamis) increase the risk perception, Slow onsets such as droughts have a lower risk perception.
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?
Importance of Risk Analysis
Action to take before the event
During the Hazard Event
Responses to Hazard Events
Short Term Responses
Medium Term Responses
Long Term Responses
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:
Chile Vs Haiti Earthquakes
Haiti Vs Chile earthquake: Comparison in terms of magnitude and effects