Disaster hotspots

Descriptions about two disaster hotspots - The Philippines and California, and two particular disasters in each of these hotspots

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Emily Parkes 15/10/2012
The Philippines
The Philippines is an island arc in Southeast Asia consisting of over 7,000 islands, concentrated at
latitudes between 5 and 20oN of the equator. It lies on a belt of tropical cyclones, and astride an
active plate boundary. The dense oceanic Philippines plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian
plate. So it is in a disaster hotspot. The location of the Philippines across a major plate boundary
means that it faces significant risks from volcanoes and earthquakes, also its northern and eastern
coasts face the pacific, the world's most tsunami prone ocean. It also lies within South-East Asia's
major typhoon belts and o average is affected by 15 typhoons a year and struck by 5 or 6 of them.
One final disaster that is common is landslides in the mountain districts. A knock on effect of these is
foods, the typhoons and deforestation means that the land is susceptible to flooding caused by
typhoons and tropical storms.
The development indicators of the Philippines includes a population of 94.85million, GDP of
$224.8billion; life expectancy of 69, literacy rate of 92.6%, poverty headcount ratio at national
poverty line of 26.5%, and GNI per capita (atlas method) of $2,210.
Mt Pinatubo:
One of the volcanoes in the Philippines is Mt Pinatubo and this volcano erupted in June 1991, and this
eruption was one of the biggest seen in the world in over 50 years. The volcano showed signs of
eruption in April 1991, with steam explosions and minor earthquakes. A 10km exclusion zone was set
up around the volcano by govt advisors, eventually extending the zone to 30km. Two weeks before
blast produced video outlining risks of pyroclastic flows and lahars. By 9th June, 58 000 people had
been evacuated, reaching 200 000 by 12th June. First eruption on 12th June sent a cloud of ash 20km
into the atmosphere. The second eruption, 15th June, was cataclysmic; a dome on the side of the
volcano collapsed, creating a pyroclastic blast and causing huge lahars. Effective monitoring and
management reduced death and injury toll to just over 4,300 people.
The eruption had many social, economic and environmental effects. Some of the social effects were
that in total 364 communities and 2.1 million people were affected with livelihoods and houses being
damaged or destroyed. 8,000 + houses were destroyed and 73,000 damaged. 330 people died
from the eruption and lahars and some evacuees died in camps where they were exposed to

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Emily Parkes 15/10/2012
disease. The eruption also caused many injuries. Education for thousands of children was seriously
disrupted by the destruction of schools in the eruption. There were also many economic effects
which can be linked to the environment and social effects. Some of these effects were that economic
losses were US$ 710million, mainly agriculture and property. Prior to the eruption the GRDP has been
growing at 5% annually but fell by more than 3% from 1990 to 1991.…read more

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Emily Parkes 15/10/2012
due to the fault line. The location of California means that it is at threat from earthquakes, tsunamis,
storms and heavy rain caused by El Niño, and drought associated with La Niña. As well as this
California also suffers from landslides and mudflows which are secondary hazards caused by
earthquakes, storms and heavy rain, and deforestation leading to soil erosion.
The development indicators of California includes a population of 37,691,912, Gross State Product of
about $1.…read more


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