4. Disasters

You should by now have six case studies: hazard-summary-table. Use this table to summarise all your case study notes in one place.

“A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that causes serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic and/or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own level of resources.”

Definition from: Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 14.24.17

The IB says a disaster is ‘a major hazard event that causes widespread disruption to a community or region that the affected community is unable to deal with adequately without outside help.

For a disaster to be recognised by UNISDR it must satisfy these conditions:

  • a report of 10 or more people killed
  • a report of 100 people affected
  • a declaration of a state of emergency by the relevant government
  • a request by the national government for international assistance

Do you think these definitions are the same? Try to find examples of disasters which fit one but not the other.

Things to do:

1. Describe the methods used to quantify the spatial extent and intensity of disasters.

These two stories from the BBC suggest that new methods are required for measuring disasters:

Social networks and the web offer a lifeline in Haiti 2010

Aid agencies ‘must use new tools’ 2009

And this video about the recent RimFire disaster:

You should visit the Greenfield Geography site for a comprehensive overview of measuring disasters as well as some excellent case studies….

 

2. Explain the causes and impacts of any one disaster resulting from a natural hazard.

Using a natural hazard case study you have previously researched produce revision notes under two sub-headings:

 

  • The causes of the disaster which resulted from a natural hazard.
  • The impacts of the disaster which resulted from a natural disaster [impacts could be further categorised using SEEP: Social, Economic, Environmental and Political]

3. Explain the causes and impacts of any one recent human-induced hazard event or disaster.

Using a human-induced hazard case study you have previously researched (Deepwater Horizon BP) produce revision notes under two sub-headings:

 

  • The causes of the disaster which resulted from the human-induced hazard event.
  • The impacts of the disaster which resulted from the human-induced hazard event [impacts could be further categorised using SEEP: Social, Economic, Environmental and Political]

This is a good opportunities to condense your original case study notes – why not work onto index cards?

4. Examine the ways in which the intensity and impacts of disasters vary in space and have changed over time.

Using the data provided below, produce an explanation of the following:

How does the intensity and impacts of disasters vary in space and time?

You will need to analysis the data by means of producing some visualizations – graphs and/or maps.

ifrc-disaster-data

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