GCSE Geography The Development Gap - Case Studies

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AQA GCSE Geography - The Development Gap - Case Studies

11.4 - How do physical and human factors increase global inequalities?

Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan was one of the Caribbean's most powerful and destructive hurricanes, hitting several Caribbean countries as well as the USA. Ivan hit the island of Grenada on 7th September 2004. Winds of 200kmph from this Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale caused major damage, though rainfall proved not as heavy as expected.

Ivan affected the entire island of Grenada. The southern part was the worst affected. Trees were broken and uprooted, services and buildings were destroyed. Roads were seriously blocked by fallen trees, althought the coastal defences did well against the storm surge. 37 people died from the effects of Ivan upon Grenada, before it continued across Jamaica to the USA. Around 90% of houses were damaged or destroyed. Most people were affected in some way, half being made homeless - almost all schools were damaged. Water, power and telecommunications systems were also disrupted - potentially a major health risk for the island. Water was prioritised as the most basic health issue and was efficient again within three weeks of the storm.

In terms of development, long-term damage is more important. In the short term, people lacked food, clean water and medical care, but these shortages were overcome. In the long term, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure were badly hit and took much longer to repair and replace, and at much greater cost. Even 10 years is not enough to catch up with what was destroyed by a major hurricane like Ivan, and poorer countries have a low tax base and individuals are usually without insurance to help them recover.

11.6 - How succeful are development projects?

A large-scale aid project: the Cahora Bassa dam, Mozambique - an example of bilateral aid.

Fact File:

  • Catchment area: 56 927sqkm
  • Length of lake: 292km
  • Maximum width of lake: 38km
  • Average depth: 20.9m
  • Maximum depth: 157m

The Cahora Bassa dam was begun by the Portugese government of Mozambique in the 1960s, although it was only completed three decades later. Civil war (1977-1992) prevented development and use of the scheme, as well as damaging its infrastructure. Renewal work did not begin until 1995 ending in 1997.

It is the largest HEP scheme in southern Africa, with five huge turbines and a surface area second only to Nasser behind Egypt's huge Aswan dam. Three on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border and the Itehi-Tehzi on the tributary River Kafue, as well as Cahora Bassa dam. Cahora Bassa is the most recent and potentially the most important.

Despite this huge resource, only 1% of Mozambique's rural homes have a direct electricity supply and this level has hardly changed during the life of the dam. Most of the power is sold to South Africa, which makes money for the Mozambican economy but does little for its citizens. The Cahora Bassa dam has much greater potential than it produces today. It could provide the whole of Mozambique…

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