The concept of a hazard in a geographical context (Human responses to…
The concept of a hazard in a geographical context
A natural hazard is an event perceived to be a threat to the physical environment, the built environment and human life.
Natural hazards and their effects have the following characteristics: their origin is clear and their effects are distinctive, they require an emergency response, they only allow for a short warning, in LEDCs exposure to risk is generally involuntary and most damage and loss of life occurs directly after the event.
is the exposure of people to a hazard event, i.e. physical setting
People put themselves at risk for a number of reasons: there are no alternatives, the level of risk has changed, the benefits outweigh the costs, hazard events are unpredictable and they may have a fatalist perception.
is the potential for loss, i.e. the level of development in a country
is the way individuals/groups view a hazard event which determines how they act or how they expect the government and organisations to act
Human responses to hazard events
is the belief that hazards are part of everyday life and people should just accept them as part of living in the area.
is where people try to survive the hazard by predicting, protecting and preventing.
is where people try and manage the causes of hazards rather than deal with their effects
is where people use technology to accurately predict when and what is going to happen, as this allows for effective preparation.
is where identification of the hazard and analysis of the risk is incorporated to create a risk reduction plan.
involves prearranged measures that aim to reduce the loss of life and damage through education, evacuation procedures and provision of emergency services.
Hazard Management Cycle
The process by which governments and organisations plan for and reduce the impact of natural hazards. The cycle is used on a local, national and international scale.
Preparedness: The hazards that could occur are planned for, and past hazards in the area are looked at so that a disaster plan can be produced which outlines the required resources needed in a disaster and where to get them.
Response: Warnings are issued, people are evacuated and equipment is assembled. An emergency operations centre is set up to coordinate the response, e.g. the allocation of human resources. There is a focus on immediate needs.
Recovery: There is focus on longer term responses such as clean up and rebuilding. Temporary housing is established and utilities such as electricity and water are restored.
Mitigation: The main goal of mitigation is to prevent the same hazard having the same effects again.
Park's Disaster Response Curve
Park devised the model in 1991 to show that hazard events can have varying impacts over time. Variations in the Park model can be explained by: type of hazard, degree of preparedness, nature of recovery and speed of the relief effort.
Predisaster: The quality of life and level of economic activity is normal.
Relief: (hours-days) Medical care, rescue services and general support is delivered. Quality of life gradually begins to increase again during the stage.
Rehabilitation: (days-weeks) People try and get back to normal by providing food, water and shelter to those most affected.
Reconstruction: (weeks-years) Infrastructure and property is rebuilt and crops are regrown.