Natural Hazards and the Interaction of Physical and Human Processes

Natural Hazards and the Interaction of Physical and Human Processes
The earth has been producing hazards for millennia these include earthquakes and volcanoes caused by the movement of tectonic plates, and also wind and water elated disasters such as tornadoes and tsunamis, these can be varied by a countries location such as suffering drought due to be land locked or an island, also the relief on the land can contribute greatly to the hazards it faces.. All of these cause great destruction and can involves lots of energy, these events do not become disasters unless there are human factors involved, when people live on a fault line they are risking suffering from an earthquake, this combination of physical and human processes can lead to large losses not only in lives but also monetary due to lost land, employment and homes. The problems associated with a hazard may be short lived on continue for decades, drought can effect a region for over 5 years, but the loss of farm land due to volcanic eruption can result in a permanent loss of foodstuffs and thus malnutrition. Providing adequate preparation and protection from a p[physical hazard can mean that the risk is greatly reduced, earthquakes in the Sahara dessert affect nobody, since no one lives there, similarly if a earthquake is expected in Hawaii, the islands can be evacuated and the risk is lessened. Similarly the location of the hazard can also mean large differences in lives lost, if the hazard hits a medc which is prepared many buildings will survive and will those living their, if the same hazard hit a ledc it could cause great atrocity as many homes will no be strong enough to withstand the impact and also the spread of information will be lessened due to not having a intergraded television and radio system, also many MEDCs are able to forecast hazards by the use of highly sensitive and expensive equipment, something that is not available to many LEDCs, thus evacuation and warning is not available, this can be seen in the Grecian city of Pompeii which was engulfed by a volcano with very little warning the result being the loss of almost all of the city and its inhabitants. Some natural hazards can be effected by the actions of humans, the deforestation of forests in Indonesia is suspected to have contributed to the mudslides their, the resulting loss of life could be blamed on illegal logging which had occurred. The flood risk of countries is also increased by the urbanisation of land, the concrete and other impermeable surfaces used mean that water reaches rivers faster which can cause the river to burst it?s banks, this occurred in Berkshire and other urban areas by the M4 which closely follows the route of the river Thames and its tributaries, this had flooded many time in recent years and the problem in acerbated by the increased urbanisation of the land. The Mississippi was straitened to be better for human usage the problem being that the river returns to its original route when it is flooded or moving excess water, causing widespread damage and erosion. Also those building on unstable or perilous land can have future problems, many homes are built on hill sides, the increased weight of these structures can mean that mud/landslides are more likely to occur, also the increased weight on buildings on cliff tops can mean that they crack and erode at a faster rate than normal, this loss of cliffside could mean sea defence is weakened. To prevent these hazards from occurring mitigation is needed, methods include building earthquake resistant buildings, hazard warning systems or in the case of flood plains, simply not using the land a plan which is being trialled in Essexwhere reclaimed farmland is being returned to floodplain. Volcanologists have recommended for many years that buildings are not located on volcano sides, yet many feel the benefits far outweigh the risk, especially in areas which have not seen an eruption in many years. These combined with earthquakes can cause mass movement of the land; this can result in further human related complications as fires are started by broken gas mains. Also when land is built on reclaimed land such as sand reclamation on the west coast of America, an earthquake could cause liquefaction to occur turning the once stable base of people?s homes into a river of mud and sand. Very few of these events would become a hazard unless humans were either living their or has contributed to the actual problem, land which has no population frequently shows no ill effects of these natural processes and in some it has positive effects, when Egypt was only populated by very few the yearly flooding of the Nile ensured that the farm land was irrigated and also had fresh nutrient, now the dam means this no longer occurs and if the dam breaks a huge flood killing millions could result.

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