Cyclones/ Hurricanes - case studies

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  • Created by: Fiona
  • Created on: 13-05-13 14:36

Cyclone Nargis Formation

  • A storm formed over the Bay of Bengal during the last week in April 2008
  •  On 28th April it strengthened enough to be upgraded to a cyclone
  • As it approached the coast of Myanmar (Burma) it strengthened to a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson classification scale
  • It made landfall on 2nd May with wind speeds of 215km/h and a 5m storm surge
  • It weakened and moved inland and on 3rd May it was downgraded to a storm
  • The Irrawaddy Delta was the hardest hit area because the cyclone hit it head on
  • Over 14000km2 of land was flooded
  • Sri Lanka was also affected by flooding and landslides due to the heavy rainfall
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Cyclone Nargis Social Impacts

140,000 deaths

450,000 houses destroyed and 350,000 damaged

70% of the population had no access to clean water – led to disease from contaminated water

75% of health facilities were destroyed or severely damaged

2.5 million people were without shelter

4000 schools were destroyed

30% of people treated by one aid agency had mental health problems

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Cyclone Nargis Economic Impacts

  600,000 hectares of agricultural land was damaged, including 65% of rice paddies

Total cost was $4 billion

200,000 animals were killed

40% of food stores were destroyed

Millions lost their livelihoods – fishing boats were destroyed

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Cyclone Nargis Environmental Impacts

38,000 hectares of mangrove forests was destroyed

Erosion and salination

Rice fields flooded in the Irrawaddy Delta

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Cyclone Nargis Responses - Unprepared

Indian weather agencies provided a warning to the Burmese Government 48 hours before the cyclone hit

Burmese weather forecasters gave warnings via TV and radio but they didn’t say how severe it would be or how to evacuate – also the rural poor would not have received the warning

No emergency preparation plans, no evacuation plans and no early warning system

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Cyclone Nargis Responses - Slow

  • Initially the government refused to accept foreign aid
  • On the 9th May they decided to accept aid donations such as food aid and tents
  • The UN refugee agency sent 22 tonnes of tents and supplies to Burma via Thailand
  • Muslim Aid distributed water purification tablets
  • A French naval ship was denied entry even though it was carrying 1500 tonnes of supplies
  • The military seized 2 shipments of high energy biscuits
  • On the 19th May ASEAN  held an emergency summit adn Burma allowed aid workers to enter if they were from ASEAN countries
  • Following talks with the UN Secretary General, Burmese leaders allowed aid workers to enter on 23rd May
  • The delay in accepting aid helped increase the death toll as it was too late for some
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Hurricane Katrina Formation

A storm formed over the Bahamas on 23rd August 2005 – it moved northwest and strengthened into a hurricane before entering the Gulf of Mexico

Over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico it strengthened to become a category 5 hurricane

On 28th August it weakened to a category 3

It made landfall on the morning of 29th – it brought wind of 200km/h, 200-250mm rainfall in Louisiana and an 8.5m storm surge in Mississippi

It travelled over 240km inland before being downgraded to a storm

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Hurricane Katrina Social Impacts

1836 deaths

300,000 homes were destroyed

3 million people were without electricity

Water supplies were polluted with sewage, chemicals and death bodies – this pollution caused 5 deaths

18 schools were destroyed and  74 were damaged

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Hurricane Katrina Economic Impacts

230,000 jobs were lost

The cost of damage was $300 billion

30 oil platforms were damaged or destroyed

5300 km2 of forest was lost in Mississippi – this caused damage to the logging industry totalling $5 billion

Ports were damaged including Gulfport – disrupted the shipping industry

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Hurricane Katrina Environmental Impacts

Coastal habitats were destroyed – sea turtle breading beaches

25 million litres of oil was pumped into Lake Pontchartrain

Coastal conservations were destroyed e.g.  ½ of Breton National Wildlife Refuge

560km2 of Chandleur Island was submerged

Oil spills

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Hurricane Katrina Responses - Warnings

USA has a monitoring system – the National Hurricane Centre in Florida

On the 26th August the NHC issued a warning and continued updating the government

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Hurricane Katrina Responses - Before hitting

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) were in charge of the response

A state of emergency was declared in Louisiana on 26th August and in Mississippi on 27th August

FEMA organised teams and supplies – for example mortuary teams with cooling units for dead bodies so they could be kept for identification

On the morning of 28th August, the New Orleans mayor ordered a mandatory evacuation – 80% of the residents evacuated

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Hurricane Katrina Responses - During and After

100,000 didn’t evacuateemergency shelters were set up such as the Louisiana Superdome which sheltered 26,000

Coastguard, police, fire service and army rescued over 50,000 people

Team and supplies were sent to the area:

  • FEMA sent search and rescue teams, medical teams, water, ice and ready meals
  • 58,000 National Guard troops were deployed - they rescued 17,000 peopled and evacuated 70,000
  • over $4 billion donations
  • Salvation Army provided 5.7million hot meals
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Hurricane Katrina Responses - Criticism

National response reduced the impact

Emergency shelters weren’t prepared for the quantity of people – the National Guard delivered food for 15,000 for 3 days to the Superdome but 26,000 turned up

Widespread looting – not enough police

The evacuation saved lives but people who didn’t have access to transport weren’t helped, in particular the poorer New Orleans without cars – there were accusations of racism as most of those left stranded were black African Americans

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