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Costa RicaCase Study

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Costa Rica Case Study Map of Costa Rica Physical Background Costa Rica is one of the most hazard - prone areas of the earth and is at risk from many different types of hazards. Located at the juncture to five tectonic plates, exposure to earthquakes and volcanic hazards are common. The country has very distinct wet and dry seasons, which results in the extremes of flooding and drought dependant on the season, and is at risk from hurricanes from May to October (e.g. Hurricane Casar, 1996) Human activity has not helped and there has been an increase in flooding, landslides and droughts, which can be linked to human activity, such as global warming at the global scale, but also deforestation and land degradation at local and regional scales. Economic Vulnerability Costa Rica is like many other central American countries in that it has a negative growth in GNP per capita, a large national debt, and 28% of the population living in poverty. ...read more.


So, hazard acceptance was a common belief with; * 27% believing that hazards were acts of nature * 11% the punishment or will of god * 24% did not know the cause When asked who could reduce disasters, the people obviously believed that disasters were out of their control (externalisation). There was no incentive to act by forming local groups, this hazard acceptance is mainly due to religious factors and the view that they are a part of everyday life. Income and other problems (employment) have a higher profile in their concerns. Educational and Informational Vulnerability Education within and beyond school is important in reducing hazard vulnerability as people can be taught how to deal with emergencies. However there are few emergency preparedness programmes and most of these relate to seismic and volcanic action as opposed to flooding. ...read more.


Population: 3.8 million Capital city: San Jos´┐Ż (pop 340,000) People: 96% Spanish descent, 2% African descent, 1% indigenous Indians, 1% Chinese Language: Spanish, Creole English and Indian dialects Religion: 85% Roman Catholic, 14% Protestant Government: Democracy President-elect: Abel Pacheco GDP: US$16.6 billion GDP per head: US$4300 Annual growth: 1% Inflation: 11.6% Major industries: Tourism, electronics, coffee, bananas, sugar, food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products, Major trading partners: USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico Needs for the Future Lavell, in 1994 identified three main changes in order to reduce vulnerability: * Government organisation needs to be less centralized and to focus on the local scale. * Priorities: governments have difficult economic problems and many social demands on them, which means that hazards are not a priority. However, disasters must not be viewed as entirely unpredictable, abnormal and uncontrollable events. * Participation at the local level: this needs to include disaster preparedness and prevention as part of a programme to improve housing, employment, education and health, as well as environmental management. 01/05/2007 Andy Robertson ...read more.

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