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The hazards presented by volcanic and seismic events have the greatest impact on the worlds poorest people

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Introduction

Hazards are anything that could cause damage to humans or buildings. Many volcanic and seismic events happen that cause hazards to humans. Often the world's poorest people are hit the worst; however wealthier countries can also be adversely affected. The Kobe earthquake in Japan 1995 struck at 5.45am. Many people were asleep in bed, causing the hazard to be increased because the people were unaware. Although many Japanese buildings were of aseismic design, the roofs of their houses were designed to withstand typhoons and so were very heavy. When the earthquake struck many people were crushed in their sleep. Also every year on 1st September Japan has national earthquake preparedness day to remember the 140000 that died in the Tokyo earthquake of 1923 but this did not help many of the citizens of Kobe. The Kobe earthquake was also in December so many people had nowhere to go in the middle of the night in winter and the risk of hyperthermia was extremely high. ...read more.

Middle

Approximately 6000 schoolchildren died. This loss is exacerbated by the Chinese one child policy and will impact upon the community for a long time. Although the region being very poor was extremely devastated when the earthquake struck, the steep topography of the area exacerbated the problems because it caused mass movement which killed 158 rescue workers and blocked many of the roads that aid workers were trying to use to get to the people. The Chinese government are now relocating many of the people from the area because it is unsafe - some say it is too late. The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami affected many people with over 350000 killed. Indonesia, Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands were badly affected. The poorest people were the worst affected by the disaster because there was no warning and many did not know that there was that type of hazard. However there has been a tsunami warning system in the Pacific Ocean since the 1940s - this is because the wealthier countries like Japan, Canada and USA all are affected by the Pacific. ...read more.

Conclusion

The eruptions also provide extremely fertile soils for agriculture and native species. Therefore the hazards presented by volcanic and seismic events do have a huge impact on the world's poorest people, yet some of the wealthiest can suffer just as badly. Often the world's poorest people live in very high population density housing areas on marginal land meaning that they are at an increased risk of the hazard than the wealthier on more stable land. The very poorest in Indonesia during the tsunami were on the very edge of the coast closest to the impact zone, whereas the wealthier people were generally further inland and more safe. The secondary effects of the seismic or volcanic activity can be just as devastating as the original event, for example, many homes that were not destroyed after the Mount St Helens eruption of 1980 in Washington state were washed away by the flooding from the rivers and Spirit Lake becoming blocked from debris. Therefore, the world's poorest people do tend to suffer the most but mainly from a lack of education and prior knowledge of the dangers. ...read more.

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