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Using an example, outline the effects of a tsunami and how the hazard can be managed

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Introduction

Using an example, outline the effects of a tsunami and how the hazard can be managed Tsunami is Japanese for 'harbour wave', and is usually formed through the combination of a series of water waves, commonly known as a 'tsunami wave train', which are in turn caused by the displacement of a large body of water, e.g. an ocean. As the wave train reaches shallow depths, they tend to combine into a single large wave travelling at immense speeds (600 km/h), steepening rapidly to heights of 80 feet plus, resulting in a tsunami. A natural disaster is usually the root cause of such a displacement of water, and thus earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and underwater landslides are common causes of tsunami formation. The effects and management of tsunamis depend on several factors. The most obvious of course is the intensity of the tsunami, or more specifically the natural disaster which caused the tsunami. For example the intensity of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 is categorised by the measurement of its earthquake tremor, 9.3 Mw on the Richter scale. The next factor is whether the country(s) affected have high population densities as well as the economic development of each country. A densely populated MEDC equipped to deal with such disasters tend to limit the impacts of such a deadly event however still cannot prevent high death tolls. ...read more.

Middle

In Amphur Khao, Thailand, only 6 of 60 fishing boats remained intact, with the rest either being swept out to sea or damaged irrevocably. Similarly in Tamil Nadu in India, the surviving 10% of fishermen had lost both nets and boats needed to retain their livelihood, and as a result had to relocate to the city, leaving the ports economically. The long term effect of this resulted in a decline of the fishing industry, and as a result economic decline. The loss of people of all ages and from all occupations not only affected the fishing industry, but also compounded the economic effects on agriculture and industry. The rail link between Colombo and Galle was destroyed resulting in the deaths of 1500 people, and Farmland has been contaminated by salt water leaving large plantations untenable. These impacts in particular had a severe effect on the economy, and many fear that damage to farmland and infrastructure will be longer term and longer lasting. Regarded as less important than economic and social effects, the damage to the environment was nevertheless extensive and serious. Primary effects included thousands of trees being uprooted by the sheer power of the tsunami wave trains, and severe damage to natural marine features such as coral reefs and mangrove swamps. It has been reported that in the Maldives, 16 to 17 coral reefs were overcome by the sea waves, and are totally without fresh water, and as a result have been rendered uninhabitable for decades. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other responses involving hard-engineering techniques have been constructed in MEDCs in order to be used as limiting or prevention measures. This has been seen commonly in Japan, where 4.5m seawalls have been constructed in order to protect coastal areas as well as the introduction of floodgates. These measures have been by and large unsuccessful, due to the volatile nature of tsunami. For example, the Hokkaido tsunami which struck Okushiri Island created waves as high as 30m tall leaving the sea barriers futile and ineffectual. To conclude, the Indian Ocean Tsunami had many severe social, economic, and environmental effects, including 230,000 fatalities, as well as extensive destruction to atolls, farmland and infrastructure in turn leading to several long term economic drawbacks, the effects of which are still felt today. Responses to these catastrophic effects can be split in to long term and short term categories. With the majority of countries bordering the Indian ocean being LEDCs, the main constituent of responses fell in to the latter of the two catgories. These included evacuation, financial aid from foreign countries, and the deployment of various task forces. The most conclusive long term response was the introduction of IOTWS which provided an early warning system for these surrounding LEDCs. Overall, it is clear that the Indian Ocean Tsunami displayed characteristic effects and responses relative to the intensity of the quake and tsunami. ...read more.

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