Case studies for Unit 1

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Geography Unit 1: Case Studies
1: World At Risk
Flood Hazard Profile
Much of the land is lowlying (around 80%).
It is regularly inundated by melt water that originated in the mountain regions of its
neighbours ­ India and Nepal.
New Orleans
Two metres below sea level on average.
The city relies on levies to keep out the waters that surround it ­ including Lake
Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2005 flood defences were breached due to hurricane Katrina and in the day that
followed virtually half the city was flooded.
Landslides and Avalanches Hazard Profile
Experienced a landslide in 2006 caused by heavy rain followed by an earthquake
(killed 1100).
In 2007, 128 people were killed by a landslide caused by large scale deforestation in
the hills to create land for illegal settlements. This increased the saturation of the soil,
making it unstable.
Himalayas ­ Mountainous region vulnerable to avalanches.
Colombia ­ Country located in the tropics vulnerable to landslides due to high levels of
Machu Pichu ­ Cultural site in Peru vulnerable to landslides due to steep gradient and
unstable land.

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Drought Hazard Profile
As the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) moves north and south through Africa, it
brings a band of seasonal rain. In some years, highpressure zones expand and block
the rainbearing winds, which may result in famine for countries such as Ethiopia and
Somalia where farmers rely on rainfed agriculture.
In El Nino years severe drought is often experienced in this region of the Pacific.
Cyclones Hazard Profile
New Orleans ­ The east coast of North America is badly affected by cyclones.…read more

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Rapid urbanisation and development at the coast meant more people were located in
vulnerable areas.
A similar scenario can be seen in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, but here the epicenter was
so close the waves travelled just 15 minutes from their origin.
The most vulnerable groups were women and children, those in poor quality buildings,
those on low incomes and in fishing occupations and those with low educational
Haiti Earthquake
Occurred in January 2010.
Over 200,000 lives lost.
1 in every 15 affected died.…read more

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It is thought that the increase in intensity could be due to global warming. One reason
for this prediction is because warmer air has a greater capacity to hold moisture
thereby increasing the amount of rainfall during storms.
The Indian Ocean's surface waters have become warmer by nearly 2°c during the last
thirty years.
Two thirds of the country is dependent on farming for their income.
Prior to the floods, roughly one third of Pakistanis lived below the poverty line.…read more

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Two people
moorings and needed to be
washed ashore rescued from a
at Cliftonville.
capsized 14ft
2008 storm 80 mph winds. About 3,000
homes were left
Two primary
schools were
closed following
power failures
Disruption to
2003 heatwave Hottest day in Bookies lost Increase in use Traffic numbers
Britain since money William of fridges, fans were up 20%
records began Hill alone had to and air creating more
(38.1°c). pay out over conditioners pollution and
It is estimated £250,000.…read more

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Temperatures People Waste and
below 0°c prevented from recycling
travelling by car. collections
Bus services suspended.
not operating.
People unable
to travel to
East Kent
hospitals trust
cancelled all out
clinics with
Shops began to
run out of food
because of
fewer deliveries
and panic
200406 The period from Hose pipe bans Crop failure.
drought October 2004 by four water
to January 2006 companies in
was the driest the South East
in some parts of initially.…read more

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Caused by two
winters of
extremely low
In the previous
2 years there
were just 3
months that had
above average
rainfall (only 3
months of
`topup' of water
1996 flooding 400 properties
of Pent stream flooded.
in Folkstone
Philippines: A disaster hotspot
Contains 37 volcanoes, 18 of which are active.
Philippines are located in the `Pacific Ring of Fire'.
Formed by the subduction of the dense oceanic Philippine plate under the lighter
Eurasian plate.…read more

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In a single week in 1989 the Philippines was struck by typhoons Angela and Dan,
resulting in 159 deaths.
The tropical monsoon climate means there is heavy rainfall that can cause landslides
and floods. Between 1905 and 2007 there had been 72 incidents of flooding, resulting
in the deaths of 2,716 and causing almost $450,000 million worth of damage.
The floods and landslides of November 1991 caused vast amounts of damage.
Surrounding area of Manila has a high population density.…read more

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In January 2005 a huge mudslide crashed down on homes in a coastal hamlet of
southern California, killing one person and damaging at least 15 homes.
More than 70% of the population lives within 50km of a fault line.
Around 20% of people in LA live below the poverty line.
Lies on a conservative plate boundary which causes earthquakes and triggers
California is covered in forest.
Affected by El Nino.
Deforested hillsides.
People are moving out of the hills in the LA fringes.…read more

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In some disruption of landbased
areas, lakes and rivers will transport because of
drain as the frozen ground permafrost thawing. As
beneath them thaws, while large areas of snow and ice
rising river flows could melt, exposing new land and
create new wetlands in other open sea, the Arctic will
places, this will have an become more accessible
impact on some species. and vulnerable to
exploitation for natural
resources such as oil and
fish.…read more


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