Using Japan and Haiti as examples discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of hazard management schemes on earthquakes in developing and developed countries
Hazard management schemes are used in tectonic areas around the world, they are there to help reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries during and prior to earthquakes. These methods can be seen as effective as records after the 1990s suggest that the trends of death and injury have gone down, while the economic costs and damage prior to earthquakes has increased dramatically. There are other schemes that are used to predict as well as mange disasters, which give people fair warning so they are able to evacuate safely before a disaster strikes. Yet some hazard management schemes can be seen as more effective than others, in this research it suggests that having a variety of hazard management schemes is actually more effective than just one, and if the combination is right there can be a possibility of eradicating death and injuries all together. The variety of hazard management schemes that have been researched are: seismic buildings in developed and developing countries, reinforced buildings, road and bridge design, education, fire proof materials, earthquake maps, radon gas, laser beams, the Hazard management cycle, SMAUG model, Dregg’s disaster model, the hazard risk equation and Parks model. Prediction can be seen as the most important factor as it gives people time to prepare and evacuate, but these are not always 100% reliable (al, 2013) (Report journal page one).
There are a variety of hazard prone contries that use hazard management schemes, yet some use more than others, this is due to the type of hazard that occurs there and what disaters they are most prone to. This would suggest that there is a difference in things like: magnitude, frequency, type of disaster (Desctructive, constructive, collision and conservative), topography and econmoic wealth. Aside from these things one of the most contempory aspect that is currently being faced in the geographical world is vulnerability. This term crops up in majority of cases in disasters, as we see it is a constant issuse for places which have high levels of vulnerability. We can see this in the hazard risk equations whichis a global equations used globally as well in win Dregg’s model. Both suggesting that vulnerability is a key issues which any country will face no matter what their development status and GDP. As this also takes into consideration the people who are suffering within a country even though they may be classed as developed and wealthy. This might be an argument against hazard manamgement schemes as they are seen as flawed as some countried do not have the means to build them as they are classed as vulnerable(al, 2013) (Report journal page one) (al C. D., 2013) (Cowling, 2011)(report journal pages 13 and 14)(report log page 2).
Japan and Haiti are used examples of two countries that are situated on major plate boundaries which are highly prone to earthquakes, looking at the methods that they use. From this it can be seen that it is not only the hazard management schemes that contribute to the eradication of injuries and deaths, but other factors like; level of economic development: if the country is developed or developing and more economically developed country or an less economically developed country, GDP: how much a country imports and exports as well as manufactures, HDI: life expectancy, education and quality of life of the people who live in the area, type of plate boundary: it is thought that 80% of the world’s most destructive hazards are found on destructive plate boundaries where the oceanic crust is subducted under the less dense continental crust , magnitude of earthquake and scale of event (just to name a few). This therefore suggests that no hazard is the same (even if it occurs multiple times within a country), which we can see in the Hazard Risk equation, suggesting that vulnerability, capacity to cope and hazard all contribute to the risk of a hazard. Dregg’s model would also link into this, it suggests that a natural hazard can only become a disaster when there is a significant impact on a vulnerable population, these might be human impacts like death and injury or economic like property loss or loss of income. This therefore suggests that a hazard only has the potential to harm people, the environment and the economy, whereas a disaster is where this hazard becomes a reality (Cowling, 2011) (report journal pages 11 and 12).
Kobe occurred on a destructive plate boundary situated in Japan, Japan is a developed country which was not prepared for this 1995 event. Since this event they have upped their hazard management, being situated on such an earthquake prone position with over 1,500 earthquakes per year they now have a variety of methods which help them be better prepared. Some of the hazard management schemes that they use are; seismic buildings, reinforced bridges and buildings, radon gas, laser beams, fire proof materials, earthquake maps and education to help them be better prepared. In comparison Haiti, is seen as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, it is situated on a conservative plate boundary and has over 1,700 earthquakes per year the worst being 2004 the boxing day event. It is a country that lacks the technology to prepare for earthquakes, because it is such an impoverished country it is hard to know which statistics can be believed, due to a lot of charities exaggerating deaths and injuries for money. As with charity sites the death count is only 230,000 people while other sites suggest only 200,000 deaths. Yet it is clear that the country lacks the funds to help them with hazard management, they do as much as they can using cheaper materials and technology, though it is not enough to aid the country when an earthquake strikes (al H. e., 2012 )(al C. D., 2013)(report journal pages 11 and 12).
There are models governments create to manage hazards effectively, looking at Parks model, SMAUG model and the Hazard Management cycle we can see that they are effective for some countries but not so much for others. The Hazard Management cycle, is used by governments to help organise, plan, mitigate and prepare for hazards, yet it can be seen as ineffective as fitting it to every disaster it is not possible. We can see that you cannot classify one hazard, as each disaster is different. SMAUG model is slightly different, as it prioritises hazards like manageability, urgency, acceptability, growth and seriousness is ranked and scaled, seen as a simple and easy system that governments use during and prior to hazards. Yet it is not as effective not all people will agree on which should be ranked the highest issue at the time, each person will have their own views and opinions. Parks model can be seen as slightly different this is a graph of three lines suggesting the degree of preparedness, speed of relief and the nature of recovery; this is used after an earthquake and helps places to analyse and assess where they went wrong and how they should improve in the future. Yet its main weakness is in the way that people (especially governments) find it hard to be self critical and criticize their own ideas and methods (al C. D., 2013) (Cowling, 2011)(report journal pages 13 and 14)(report log page 2).
Building design is one of the most effective hazard management schemes that can be used, it is suggested that buildings collapsing cause more deaths than the disaster itself. Developed countries look at techniques like; seismic buildings, reinforced buildings and road and bridge design, while developing countries have similar strategies but on limited funds which are not always as reliable or well built. Seismic buildings are highly effective as they have a variety of features that are put together to create something highly sturdy, in a developed country the building will have; deep foundations, strong double glazed windows, shock absorbers, cross bracing and a damper. All of these features are highly effective when in an earthquake, tested and reliable at withstanding high magnitudes. Yet developing countries cannot afford this kind of building as it is very costly and the materials dense they do have their own version but it is unable to withstand high magnitudes, it is also impossible to do this for every single building and home, as it would become very costly and take a lot of time to create a fully earthquake proof country. Reinforced buildings are seen as more cost effective, it is a strategy used to make already built buildings seismic, this is also quite costly so is not usually done in developing countries and some people criticize this as it can cause a cultural loss. Bridge and road designs are seen as very important; they are the main source of transport and during a disaster the most vital way of aiding people or transporting. Similar to the other strategies it is costly and takes a lot of time to plan these systems (al H. e., 2012 )(report journal pages 2,3,4 and 5)(report log page one).
Fire proof materials and education are other hazard management strategies that countries can use, fire proof materials are used as they have automatic shut off valves that can be installed into gas pipes to stop the risk of fires which are usually a secondary hazard prior to earthquakes. These are seen as a niche yet highly effective method not usually see as hazard management techniques as they are versatile for other fire hazards which could be caused. These are not seen as costly, yet when it comes to how and when they are maintained this then becomes costly and time consuming. Some countries might not have the funds for this scheme, but it is more so that countries are unaware of these devices and do not know that they are easily purchased. You might also say that it is an uncommon item or a niche product therefore is not seen or proved to be very effective wen preventing secondary hazards , therefore not very effective hazard management schemes (Report journal pages 7) (report log page one).
Education is an effective scheme that countries use, it is aimed at changing people’s behaviour and to protect them through making them more aware of the hazards that earthquakes can cause. It is also essential for school children in countries like Iraq where they use education to prepare children for what they should do during an earthquake, through things like TV, radio, posters, drills and emergency kits. This was seen as effective during the occurrence of the disaster Bam, as school children understood where to go and what to do, this then helped the number of child deaths decrease, equating to a lesser death toll in schools. But not everyone wants to be educated, as some people are ignorant towards what others tell them, this might cause this scheme to be ineffective as some of the techniques are not taught or passed on. There is also an issue with the way that preparation is taught, some people find it as though they are being talked down to or treated as unintelligent, therefore becoming closed off to some of the facts conveyed. Yet this can also be an issue as it forces people to absorb information and ensuring that they know and understand what needs to be done (Row, 2013) (Report journal page 6) (report log page one).
Being able to predict earthquakes is important; there are no 100% reliable ways to predict an occurrence of an earthquake but it is easy to detect patterns in them. Earthquake maps offer this, it is thought that 500,000 detectable earthquakes happen per year, with these maps we have live monitoring of earthquakes 24/7. However they are not as effective as it is not a way of predicting earthquakes only detecting as and when they occur, so there is little that people can do to help a country as you can see an earthquake as it is happening. Other schemes like radon gas and laser beams are used as an effective method to predict earthquakes, radon gas is used to measure the amount of gas produced near a tectonic plate site as it is though that there is a lot of radon gas before an earthquake occurs. It is a very expensive method and very dangerous as it is as the exact site where an earthquake can occur, in the same way laser beams can be used but this is a process via satellite. The laser beams detect plate movements; this has been seen as a very effective method as it has helped to evacuate vast numbers of people before high magnitude earthquakes occur. This however is not always 100% accurate as well as the fact that it can only detect horizontal movements, when we know that plates will also move vertically (Row, 2013 )(al H. e., 2012)(report journal pages 8,9 and 10)(report log page one).
When looking at the variety of hazard management schemes a country can use it is important to see how each country and the disaster which occurs differ. As well as it being hard to predict earthquakes it is also hard to predict what will exactly happen as each earthquake can be of a different magnitude and happen in a different area. From my analysis I have discovered that the most effective hazard management strategy is seismic buildings, buildings are seen as one of the biggest causes of death and injury during and prior to an earthquake. But when the proper measures are put in place a country is safer with the right buildings and road designs. However this is not an effective strategy for countries that are very poor, this is because poorer countries lack the funds to create buildings that are able to withstand the higher magnitude earthquakes. Poorer countries would benefit more from investment and funds to build safer roads and buildings in the long run (al C. D., 2013)(report journal pages 11 and 12)(reprot log page one).
Yet in another factor researched suggests there is a likelihood that using a variety of strategies would benefit a country before, during and after an earthquake. As Japan is a developed country they are able to prepare, organise, evacuate and mitigate their frequent high magnitude earthquakes, through a variety of strategies. Whereas Haiti a developing country has a lack of funds to withstand earthquakes meaning that they are constantly trying to recover from their frequent earthquakes. However although Japan is a developed country they also have a lower frequency of earthquakes with a slightly lower magnitude, suggesting that having a variety of hazard management schemes might not be entirely beneficial. This can be said for other earthquakes around the world which occur; as no single one is the same each earthquake scenario is different suggesting that any hazard management scheme could be relevant. In conclusion we could argue that having a variety of hazard management schemes is more effective than having none. Suggesting that having all of the strategies create a safer environment and country before, during and after an earthquake, rather than having no hazard management scheme.