AQA Geography - Hazards basics

is a threat which has the potential to cause injury, loss of life, damage to property, socio-economic disruption or environmental degradation. Can be caused by either natural or human processes.
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Natural Hazard
events which are perceived to be a threat to people, the built environment and the natural environment.
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a hazardous event that causes unacceptably large numbers of fatalities and/or overwhelming property damage. These occur as a result of a hazard.
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When does the United Nations classify a hazard as a disaster?
A report of ten or more people are killed A report of 100 or more people are affected A declaration of a state of emergency by the relevant government is made. There is a request by the national government for international assistance.
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How can we measure a hazard?
Magnitude (size in terms of how much energy is released) Frequency (how often they occur)
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Types of hazard
Geophysical Atmospheric Hydrological
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Caused by earth processes. They can be caused by internal earth processes of tectonic activity, or by external processes of geomorphological origin involving mass movement.
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Caused by the occurrence, movement and distribution of surface and underground water.
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Processes operating in the atmosphere resulting in extreme weather or atmospheric conditions.
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Examples of Geophysical
Earthquakes, Landslides, Volcanic eruptions, Debris avalanches
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Examples of Atmospheric
Hurricanes, Lightening, Tornadoes, Hail storms
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Examples of Hydrological
Desertification, Coastal flooding, Drought, storm surges
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The probability of a hazard occurring and creating loss
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Natural Hazard Characteristics
Little or no warning, Damage and loss of life occur shorty after hazard, with long term impacts, Clear origins and distinctive effects E.g. earthquakes cause buildings to collapse.
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What increases the risk of disaster?
Overcrowding and high housing/population density e.g. Mexico City Areas with large amounts of informal housing e.g. Guatemala City Areas that have been deforested e.g. large parts of Central America, the Philippines and Indonesia
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What decreases the risk of disaster?
Areas that have been hazard mapped so populations live in safer areas e.g. Wellington in New Zealand. Areas that have early warning systems e.g. Pacific countries benefit from the tsunami early warning system Areas with trained search and rescue team
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Fatalism (acceptance)
Such hazards are natural events that are part of living in an area. Some communities would go as far as to say that they are ‘God’s will’. Action is therefore usually direct and concerned with safety. Losses are accepted as inevitable
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People see that they can prepare for, and therefore survive the event(s) by prediction, prevention, and/or protection, depending upon the economic and technological circumstances of the area in question.
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The perception of the hazard is such that people feel so vulnerable to an event that they are no longer able to face living in the area and move away to regions perceived to be unaffected by the hazard.
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What is Perception is influenced by?
socio-economic status, level of education, occupation/employment status religion, cultural/ethnic background, family and marital status, past experience values, personality and expectations.
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What does Perception of a hazard determine?
Perception of a hazard will ultimately determine the course of action taken by individuals in order to modify the event or the responses they expect from governments and other organisations.
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What are the 3Ps?
Prediction, Prevention, Protection
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It may be possible to give warnings that will enable action to be taken. The key to this is improved monitoring in order to give predictions which means that warnings can be issued.
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Example of effective Prediction
The National Hurricane Centre in Florida is a good example of an agency demonstrating how prediction can depend upon monitoring, through the use of information from satellites and land-, sea- and airbased recordings.
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For natural hazards this is probably unrealistic although there have been ideas and even schemes such as seeding clouds in potential tropical storms in order to cause more precipitation, which would result in a weakening of the system near land
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The aim is to protect people, their possessions and the built environment from the impact of the event. This usually involves modifications to the built environment such as improved sea walls and earthquake-proof buildings.
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What is One way in which governments can act?
One way in which governments can act, and people react, is to try to change attitudes and behaviour to natural hazards which will reduce people’s vulnerability.
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Community preparedness (or risk sharing)
Community preparedness (or risk sharing) involves prearranged measures that aim to reduce the loss of life and property damage through public education and awareness programmes, evacuation procedures and provision of emergency medical + food supplies
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The Risk Management cycle
illustrates the ongoing process by which governments, businesses, and civil society plan for and reduce the impact of disasters, react during and immediately following a disaster, and take steps to recover after a disaster has occurred.
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What does the Disaster management aims to reduce?
Disaster management aims to reduce, or avoid, the potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster, and achieve rapid and effective recovery.
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Goals of Disaster Management
(1) Reduce, or avoid, losses from hazards; (2) Assure prompt assistance to victims; (3) Achieve rapid and effective recovery.
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What will the The response to a hazard be dependent on?
• past experience of the hazard • economic wealth • technology and resources • quality of research and knowledge • attitude and perceptions of descision makers • society and culture • other priorities : jobs, health, national security.
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What makes up the risk management cycle?
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery
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Minimizing the effects of disaster. Examples: building codes and zoning; vulnerability analyses; public education.
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Planning how to respond. Examples: preparedness plans; emergency exercises/training; warning systems.
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Efforts to minimize the hazards created by a disaster. Examples: search and rescue; emergency relief .
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Returning the community to normal. Examples: temporary housing; grants; medical care.
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How do people respond to hazards?
Do nothing/ignore the risk, Move to a safer location,attempt to prevent the hazard, adapt lifestyle
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The Park model
describes a sequence of phases following such an event When a hazard event occurs, it disrupts economic and social life often immediately and totally
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What does the park model refer to?
It refers to the strategies and approaches taken to being ‘back to normal’ after a disaster. These methods span from immediate ‘relief’ to providing temporary housing to reconstructing after the damage.
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What are the 3 phases/ 3 Rs?
Relief,Rehabilitation, Reconstruction
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The immediate local and possibly global response in the form of aid, expertise and search and rescue.
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A longer phase lasting weeks or months, when infrastructure and services are restored, albeit possibly temporarily, to allow the reconstruction phase to begin as soon as possible.
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Restoring to the same, or better, quality of life as before the event took place. This is likely to include measures to mitigate against a similar level of disruption if the event occurs again.
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Describe the 5 stages
Stage 1: Normality Stage 2: The event Stage 3: Emergency search and rescue Stage 4: Relief and Rehabilitation including national and international help. Stage 5: Nature of recovery related to the the need to reduce vulnerability + restore normality
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What does the Park model take into account?
That hazards are inconsistent, eg magnitude or development, All hazards have different impacts and responses, Wealthier countries have different curves as they can recover faster.
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Card 2


Natural Hazard


events which are perceived to be a threat to people, the built environment and the natural environment.

Card 3




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Card 4


When does the United Nations classify a hazard as a disaster?


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Card 5


How can we measure a hazard?


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