Examination of How People's Responses are Affected by the Frequency and Magnitude of Natural Events

Examination of How People's Responses are Affected by the Frequency and Magnitude of Natural Events
A natural hazard is an event that has the potential to cause loss oflife or property damage. Hazards are a key interaction between humansand the physical environment. They may be classified by cause,magnitude and frequency, duration of impact and warning and spatialdistribution.Risk is the exposure of people to a hazard. Hazard impacts haveincreased as a result of increasing numbers of people being placed atrisk.Vulnerability to hazards has three aspects; preparedness, resilienceand health, related to social, economic, and political factors
Perception of hazards varies, and includes acceptance, domination and adaptation. Human response can also take three forms; modify the event by control and design, modify vulnerability by prediction and warning, and modify the loss by aid and insurance. The choice of response is related to the nature of the hazard, past experience, economic and technological resources, socio-political conditions and hazard perception. The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon. [image] Satellite image of hurricane Ivan Hurricanes are measured using the Saffir Simpson scale, this gives the hurricane a rating of intensity of 1 to 5, 1 the least extreme with 5 being the most extreme. The ratings being based upon the pressure within the hurricane or storm system, the wind speeds and the surge that it may cause, this table shows the Saffir Simpson scale: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category Pressure Winds Surge mb mph ft Depression ? 980

74-95 04-May Hurricane 2 965-980 96-110 06-Aug Hurricane 3 945-965 111-130 09-Dec Hurricane 4 920-945 131-155 13-18 Hurricane 5 155

> 18

The United States has a Hurricane season, which begins in spring and is most intense during the summer months. During the summer of 2004, the US and in partiular the south eastern states, such as Florida, and its Keys have endured 4 hurricanes, Bonnie in September, Frances and Charley in August and currently Ivan. Due to this, Florida has felt large economic impact as an effect, reported $9billion before Ivan even hits home. As Ivan approaches the south eastern section of the States, after causing havoc in the low lying islands of the carribean, predictions have lead millions to flee, board up and just hope-a state of emergency was declared an already 200,000 have fled their homes in Louisiana. 1.9million people have already left florida, days before the hurricane could strike. Ivan, a category 5 storm, measuring 200 miles across with winds of over 165 mph, has already killed 68 people in the carribean, and will be the third hurricane to hit florida in little over a month. Just as they feel this may be the last, a new hurricane was spawned, this, named Jeanne. However, with the repeated attack of hurricanes, the Americans with huge amounts of technology and prediction systems, can track and follow Hurricanes with pin point accuracy, allowing for hours and days of advance warning to get evacuations underway. Florida, for example, has inhabitants known locally as ?Conchs?, these are hardy characters, who have suffered repeated hurricanes, and consider themselves experienced to deal with them, so instead of fleeing they sit tight and hope. On the other hand though how do the less developed islands within the carribean, deal with the same hurricanes, they have less technology, less well built accommodation, are low lying, surrounded by water, have no warnings and no real escape routes, the colonies of the US and UK, survive due to the resources of those countries, with residents being air lifted out to neighbouring islands away from threat, but those who have to stay face devastation, Grenada, saw 34 people killed and two-thirds of its 90,000 population left homeless. The greater the frequency of hurricanes, the greater the awareness and preparedness is of those who have past experiences of dealing with hurricanes. Plus the experts, become more capable of predicting the magnitude of the hurricanes and issuing the relevant warnings. History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Florida has Hurricane preparedness week, where dedication is given to teaching about awareness and how to deal with the event of a hurricane, it also issues citizens with information packs, underlining what to do in the event of a hurricane. However magnitude of hazards, such as hurricanes, affects responses in a different way, awareness and preparedness are one thing, experience another, but when its magnitude that comes into effect, responses are different, warnings are issued as states of emergency as in florida with hurricane ivan and there are no awards given to those who attempt to sit out the hurricanes. Overall the greater the technology, the more advance the warning, the greater inhabitant awareness, the less impact a community sustains, frequency brings with it greater experience of dealing with the phenomenal events nature throws up. However we never will be quite able enough to totally deal with the massive power that nature has, its ability to throw cars to one side, hail stones the size of tennis balls and the ability to flatten houses, but with the ever building technological advancements, prediction and prevention become easier.

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