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Hazard - A perceived natural event which has the potential to threaten both life

and property

Disaster: A hazard becoming reality in an event that causes deaths and damage
to goods/property and the environment

Tropical cyclone:
Nature of tropical cyclone (hurricanes):
Hurricanes are very large systems of intense low pressure.
They occur in areas of warm seas, generally 5-20 degrees N and S of the equator
(sufficient to impact of coriolis spin).
They have high wind speeds revolving around a calmer core (eye), with massive
uplift within the wall of the eye and possible descend of air within the eye.
Winds reach very high speeds and are accompanied by intense precipitation.

To what extent is it possible to predict hurricanes and limit loss of life from their
hazardous effects:
Hurricanes bring exceptionally strong winds and very heavy rainfall. The very strong
winds, which often gust to over 200km/h, destroy homes, flatten crops and trees, and
damage overhead power and telephone lines. It is these secondary hazards – the
floods and the landslides – which are responsible for most of the deaths and damage
associated with hurricanes. For example cyclone that occur in South East Bangladesh
on 30th April, 1991, cause 131 death and left 9 homeless. Thousands who survives die
of hunger and water-borne diseases. In Honshu Japan, the cyclone VERA which
occurred on 27 Sept, 1959 cause 5 deaths and left 1.5 million people homeless.

Although the season of occurrence of hurricanes is well known, as are the areas most
at risk, their occurrence is all but impossible to predict. Once formed from storms
over the oceans, the systems can be tracked and their arrival at the coast can be
estimated and their intensity forecast. Even with the technology available to the USA
(aircraft, satellites, remote sensing instrumentation) the precise forecasting of strength
and landfall are still well short of perfect.

It is possible to give some advance warning along fairly large stretches of coast so
that evacuation can take place.

In LEDCs this is generally neither possible nor feasible. The most effective measures
limiting loss of life are in terms of long term land use and building planning to avoid
flood plain areas, use vegetation to provide wind breaks, strengthen sea defences and
stabilise slopes.

This requires a level of investment beyond that of many LEDCs and even the USA
did little to minimise the impact of Katrina.
Mass movement –all downhill movements of weathered materials (regolith) including
soil, loose stones & rocks, in response to gravity which occur on slope. Example rock
fall, land slide and avalanches.
Slope failure occurs when the shear stress (downhill pull via gravity or weight of
object) is greater than shear strength (resistance to downhill movement). This can
occur due factors such as removal of vegetation thus no roots to bind soil together,
increase in slope angle due to undercutting of road, soil become saturated thus
lubricate soil causing landslide and due to shockwave from earthquake thus
landslide might occur.
Human activities can also make the slope to become unstable and cause mass
movement to occur.

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