Vulnerability to Natural Hazards
The topic of the society’s vulnerability to hazards and natural disasters is one that captivated further interest and attention after brief analysis on the issue. Vulnerability in this case refers to the potential of a group of people to be able to cope with a natural hazard (Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon, & Davis, 2003). When a hazard causes a disaster, numerous people get injured and killed. The situations tend to be gruesome to the people affected but it does not affect everybody equally. There are people who are more susceptible to certain natural hazards than another group of people. Vulnerability to natural hazards differs from region to region. For example, people who live in an area that is a plateau and is near a large water body they are most likely to suffer from floods. Regions that are close to tectonic plates are more likely to experience earthquakes than other places. My research would like to involve what factors lie behind the vulnerability, what affects other areas more than others and how can the issue be improved or how can the people protect themselves. My interest in this segment was sparked by various factors that I came across. Most researches and work done on natural hazards do not look at the vulnerability angle of the society but rather concentrate on the triggers (Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon, & Davis). Events that took my keen notice into the research were to specific ones: Haiti’s natural hazard and disasters experience and the Dhaka area in Bangladesh that is populated with squatters within the area. Both these regions have something in common: They have been key witnesses of natural hazards which have led to insurmountable amounts of damage that have set them back. I was curious to the factors that made these areas more vulnerable to the hazards as compared to other places which have fairly similar experiences but are able to maintain their progress. The research topic is well connected with content we are learning in class that is related to natural hazards and its geography. Through the content I have learnt in class I have been able to apply it and to understand how to approach a topic of research. Vulnerability of these regions gives a deeper scope of knowledge that I have learnt about natural hazards and disaster in our class.
For me to be able to learn more about vulnerability and how its related to natural hazards I had to first go through the historical experience of Haiti and disaster. Throughout time, the region has experience a continuous torrent of earthquakes and floods. Based on archived information and newspaper articles, I was able to really dig deep into articles providing the statistics of Haiti’s experience of with hazards (Jones, 2016). In 2008, Haiti was badly devastated by four storms which left almost 75% of its farm land destroyed and cost the life of 800 people (Jones). In 2010, they experienced one of the worst disasters in history. An earthquake left around 90,000 people killed and over 1.5 million people lost their homes. The information was able to really put into perspective the tragedy that the hazard had upon the people and the disaster they experienced. The research was able to provide to me information on the vulnerability that made Haiti vulnerable by the natural hazard. It was more than just their geographical location but factors such as instability in their political circle and high amounts of corruption (Jones). For information on Dhaka and the factors that also made it vulnerable to the disasters I was able to find reliable sources of information from research done on the area (Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon, & Davis).
While undergoing this research I was able to find certain important factors that have been given considerable thought. In relation to vulnerability to hazardous natural factors, one key component that determines how much impact the disaster will have upon the region are certain human factors (“Vulnerability to Natural Hazards”). Some of the factors involved are the wealth of the people in the region. Rich people are able to access medical help and have more stable housing as compared to impoverished people which will make them experience the disaster differently. Education is a major component as people who have knowledge on dealing with hazardous situations can be able to protect themselves more adeptly than those who do not. Governance was also shown to be of key importance as they are the ones who develop policies that can reduce the vulnerability of the people to potential natural hazards. Other important factors include age of the people affected and the technological advancement of the area.
To limit my coverage of the topic I have decided to only look at vulnerability and factors that propagate it to make the society less protected to natural hazards. As significant as the hazards and disasters are by themselves, I will not delve into that but concentrate on how the people make themselves vulnerable to the situations. I will dig deeper and uncover more analysis on various areas that have lower vulnerability to hazard compared to those that have a higher amount like Haiti, and compare what the safer areas are doing to protect themselves.
“Vulnerability to Natural Hazards”. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2017, from https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog030/node/379
Jones, S. (2016, October 4). Why is Haiti vulnerable to natural hazards and disasters? Retrieved May 6, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/04/why-is-haiti-vulnerable-to-natural-hazards-and-disasters
Wisner, B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., & Davis, I. (2003). t Risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters 2nd Edition.