“The hazards presented by Tropical storms have the greatest impact on the world’s poorest people.” To what extent do you agree with this view? (40 marks)
Tropical storms are defined as low pressure systems that form over tropical seas and can devastate areas of human settlements with hurricane force winds and floods. The severity of these impacts varies greatly depending on a countries development levels and is attributable to numerous factors such as: infrastructure, job structure, the provision of service, prediction technology and how much aid is received. Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone are two examples of tropical storms that affected areas drastically apart in economic development.
One way in which MEDC’s and LEDC’s differ is through infrastructure. In an MEDC such as the USA there are strict building codes ensuring that buildings are able to withstand hazards – in Katrina’s case hurricane force winds. This significantly reduces impacts on a social level evidenced by the death toll of 1000 people in the USA compared to the 84,500 deaths in Myanmar as a result of Nargis. This is due to buildings in a developed country such as the USA generally staying upright in many cases providing refuge from floods and strong wind whereas in Myanmar a lot of homes are self built with weak foundations meaning they are easily washed away by floods. A further way in which the impacts differ due to infrastructure is on an economic level with Nargis costing $4bn while in the US the financial cost was $200bn. The reason for this was in New Orleans, the area Katrina primarily affected, there were high levels of development with lots of buildings on the vulnerable coastal areas where the storm hit. In a less economically developed country like Myanmar there is less infrastructure and it is usually concentrated in inner areas reducing the economic cost. However due to Myanmar’s significantly weaker economy the economic costs can still be argued to be more impactful with the...
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