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Explain why the same type of hazard may have different impacts.

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Explain why the same type of hazard may have different impacts. A hazard is a geophysical process that affects people or the environment. The environment in which people live in is one of the main ways that determine how much hazards will affect its inhabitants. Obviously, the strength or magnitude of the hazard will affect the impact upon people but it depends on the environment in which the hazard occurs. In this essay I will use the examples of earthquakes and volcanoes as I feel that these are more suited to the question than other hazards. It has been said that earthquakes do not cause deaths, buildings do. This is true in that if you experience an earthquake in the middle of an open field; you will not be affected as much as the same strength of earthquake that occurred in Kobe 1995. For my essay I will use the following case studies: * Kobe earthquake, Japan 1995 * Mexico City earthquake, Mexico 1985 * Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption, The Philippines 1991 * Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption, USA 1980 The scale of impact that the hazard produces depends upon many factors, including whether the environment is urban or rural, the country in which the hazard occurs whether it be MEDC or LEDC (and the level of development within the areas of the country), the population density and the education and prior knowledge of the inhabitants. ...read more.


As a result of the eruption, around 50 lost their lives but 700 people lost their lives as a result of disease due to the amount of homeless left. The typhoon caused horrendous mudslides or lahars as the ash was up to 3m deep in some areas. The mudslides destroyed and buried many buildings and homes; around 80,000 were lost in total. The total damage was estimated at £260 million. The dust cloud that engulfed the air entered the stratosphere and encircled the globe within a year. There are reports that global temperatures were reduced by 0.5°C in the year after the eruption. Mount St. Helens is in the state of Washington in the USA. As with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, there were signs that St. Helens was going to erupt. In the March of 1980, an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale caused a small eruption at St. Helens. By early May the mountain began bulging indicating a build up of magma and an increase in pressure within the volcano. At this point the bulge was 1.5m. On the 18th May the pressure was released. An earthquake, magnitude 5 on the Richter scale caused the bulge to move forwards and downwards. The released material formed a landslide of rock, glacier and ice. This moved down the mountain to fill in Spirit Lake at the bottom of the volcano. ...read more.


The Philippines lost around 700 lives after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, mainly because the refugee camps that people are put after natural disaster have poor or in most cases no sanitation. Therefore diseases like diarrhoea and cholera are easily spread within the camp. Also the knock on affects of the Mexico City earthquake are similar to that of the Philippines, but on a larger scale and the population density is much larger in Mexico City than in the area that surrounds Mt. Pinatubo. Around 5,000 people died due to disease in Mexico City. The factors that affect the impact of a hazard are, as I mentioned in my introduction, very important to the total number of people affected. Through my case studies, I believe that the environment in which people live is the main factor that affects the impacts that the same type of hazard has. The environment in which a hazard occurs can be an MEDC or an LEDC, and as you can see from The Philippines and Mexico City, the initial impacts might not pose a tremendous problem, it's the organisation and impacts of the long term affects. Countries like Japan or the US do not really need to worry about refugee camps for the homeless after a natural disaster as the prediction, preparation and planning is greater, as they have the funds to spend on prediction technology and providing education to the general public. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michael Swift U6E ...read more.

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