The Impact of Natural Hazards

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The Impact of Natural Hazards

Natural hazards will affect More Economically Developed Countries (MEDC's)in a differing way to those that occur in Less Economically Developed Countries(LEDC's).

  • Health Care: MEDC's have the medical resources and money to quickly get appropriate aid to areas after a natural disaster. LEDC's often have to rely on aid from overseas as their health system, which is inadequate. This overseas aid takes time to arrive, which could mean far more casualties.
  • Emergency Services: In MEDC's who have a volcanic or earthquake risk, such as Japan and New Zealand,there are well thought out emergency procedures. Practices in schools and places of work mean that people know what to do it the event of a natural disaster. The Government's and military have special emergency plans to help with the situation.
The Impact of Natural Hazards

Often LEDC's do not have these emergency plans, and so (as seen in TURKEY)far more damage can be done before the emergency services reach the stricken area.

  • Building Technology: Countries such as Japan and the United States have been at the fore front of developing buildings that have more chance of resisting an earthquake. Most houses in San Francisco are made of wood, to make them more flexible and allow them to move with the quake. Larger skyscrapers are built with flexible foundations, which literally allow them to sway during a quake, rather than being rigid and falling down. Many countries in areas prone to natural hazards have building codes to say where they can and cannot build, and how high the buildings can be. New Zealand is a good example of where this occurs. LEDC's don't tend to have the technology available or money to pay for it, and sooften their buildings are very susceptible to earthquakes. One example was the Armenian earthquake in 1988, which was 0.1 less on the Richter scale than Kobe, but killed 20,000 more people. Most of the Armenian houses were built of stone and so collapsed instantly.
  • Scientific Prediction: Scientists work throughout the world, trying to predict earthquakes and volcanoes. So far they have found it very difficult to predict earthquakes, although scientists monitoring the San Andreas Fault in California have planted a huge number of seismographs in the ground to try to detect even the faintest of tremors. Volcanoes generally are easier to predict, although the specific time of the eruption is not so easy to do. Scientists can measure changes within the mountain that helps them to predict that the volcano is going to erupt. This usually allows the Local Authorities sufficient time to evacuate people from the danger area (as seen at both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Pinatubo). However they still find it very difficult to accurately predict the size of the eruption.MEDC's do tend to have more investment for this type of research and development than LEDC's.
The Impact of Natural Hazards
  • Recovery: MEDC's tend to be able to recover quickly from a natural disaster, due to having the investment and technology needed to return the area to as good as new as soon as possible. Because LEDC's often have to rely on aid from overseas, this quick recovery is often impossible for them.

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