Climatic Hazards Revision

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  • Created by: Théa
  • Created on: 11-06-13 11:34

CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina, USA

-The hurricane started in the Carribean, where thrunderstorms formed in the Bahamas. It then moved West into the Gulf of Mexico, past Florida, where 14 people died. Then, it gained energy in the Gulf, going north, hitting New Orleans on the coast of Louisiana, where it was a category 4.

-New Orleans is near the Mississippi River Delta. The land is flat and low lying, much of it actually being below sea level.

When: 29th August, 2005

Cost of Damage: $300 billion

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CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina, USA



-More than 1600 people were killed

-200,000 were injured

-No electricity

-Bridges collapsed and road networks were cut

-Phone line were out

-200,000 homes destroyed

-6m storm surges

-80% of the city was flooded, when water came in and the levees broke

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CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina, USA



-Tens of thousnds of people were made homeless

-Many jobs were lost

-Water supplies were polluted

-Oil production in the UK was affected, as people were evacuated before the Hurricane struck and many rigs were damaged or destroyed.

-Crime and safety became a problem, particularly as people discovered they weren't getting any help

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CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina, USA


-Before the Hurricane, workers on oil rigs were evacuated, along with people living along the coast

-Several companies began to move emergency supplies around to where they thought they would be needed

-The National Guard, US Coastguard, FEMA search + rescue all got involved, some before the hurricane struck and some after to help with rescue

-The mayor of New Orleans opened the Superdome as an emergency shelter for the poorer people who were unable to evacuate as they didn't have cars. (However the conditions were not very good)

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CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina, USA

Reasons for the severity of the impacts:

-There was a very slow evacuation of people

-The outdated, poorly maintained levees, some of which were from the 1920s, were unable to withstand the storm surges.

-New Orleans is below sea level, and surrounded by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, which meant that storm surges were forced up the river, into the lake and then flooded the city from several different directions, so that most of it was flooded

-Communication among companies and rescue services, wasn't clear as to where the help was needed, so it took a while for it to arrive to some people.

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CASE STUDY: Cyclone Nargis, Burma

Where: East of India and Bangladesh, Indian Ocean

Burma - one of the poorest countries in South east Asia

When: 2nd May, 2008

Cost of Damage: $4 billion

The cylone formed in the Bay of Bengal, and was originally expected to hit Bangladesh, not Burma.

The cyclone was a Category 4 storm

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CASE STUDY: Cyclone Nargis, Burma

Burma (relief) - Most of the south is only 3-5m above sea level, and get higher inland

Physical factors:

-83% of the Irrawaddy Delta mangroves destroyed. Mangrove swamps hold together land and are usually converted into shrimp farms or land for agriculture

-Mangroves act as a natural sea defence to stop storm surges; their roots catch material and absorb wave energy

-Shallow continental shape (shallow sea), pushes up storm surges

Human factors:

-The Irrawaddy Delta was a very densely populated place

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CASE STUDY: Cyclone Nargis, Burma



-Buildings in villages collapsed, many collapsing on people seeking refuge there

-More than 140,000 people were killed

-Many farm animals were killed

-Crops were destroyed


-Psychological impacts, with dead bodies and other corpses lying around

-Disease spread quickly among others

-Millions were made homeless and it was impossible for survivors to get back on their feet, after having lost crops and animals/their livelihoods

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CASE STUDY: Cyclone Nargis, Burma


-Aid didn't reach rural areas, where it was really needed

-Burmese army harassed any volunteers who were allowed in the country

Reasons for severity of the impacts:

-Lack of response from government

-The government didn't allow international aid to come into the country

-There were communication problems

-Once the government realised their mistakes, they still denied most international aid and actually under-reported the death toll

-No emergency or evacuation plans

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