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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Case study of the management of a Tropical Storm in an LIC

I did this research a long time ago so data may be different to what you've collected, and I've tried to include as much detail as possible so you don't have to do extra research. It's all here.  You can now develop your own response for those hideous 9 mark questions that tend to ask about Case Studies. Hope this helps and if you have any comments, spot any errors etc, just let me know. :) 

Case study of the management of a Tropical Storm in an LIC: Bangladesh Cyclone, 1991

Prediction and monitoring
Bangladesh ranks as the world’s foremost disaster-prone country. Yet people cannot afford to live elsewhere as poverty is a huge issue and so they cannot leave the danger zone. The government does nt have the money to fund adequate disaster plans either. The frequent natural disasters in Bangladesh have a heavy toll on them as their economy cannot grow. Thus their technology is not as advanced as they cannot afford to do more scientific research on it. Their satellites and remote sensing technology is outdated and have been in existence since 1972. Meaning that by 1991 it would have been ineffective and less accurate. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) are responsible for preparing weather forecasts, the data they received may have come late or were inaccurate thus they could not analyse it properly. This would affect when they warn citizens.  Also, because Bangladesh is an LIC, they cannot afford to send highly advanced, specially built planes up into the atmosphere through the cyclone to gather information on it, whereas the US can. If they do not know exactly how strong or how the cyclone is, they cannot be properly prepared for it.

Preparation for the cyclone hazard
The Storm Warning Centre (SWC) of the BMD provides forecasting and warnings. However, the warnings they sent out did not give people much time to react and prepare. Their megaphone warning system is ineffective, it involves people riding on bicycles between paddy fields and yelling out warning through their megaphones. This means the warnings do not reach everybody, and most people only had a few hours of warning and didn’t know where to go for shelter. Due to the lack of cyclone shelters (raised, reinforced concrete shelters) and safe places to go, people stayed at their poorly constructed house which are unable to withstand strong winds. (It was mostly flat land anyway, where would they go? The embankments were also ineffective against the storm surge.) Their houses were so weak that there was no point in boarding anything up. The lack of transportation also meant that people could not leave the danger zone and find a safe place. Some refused to evacuate thinking that the storm would not be as bad as forecasted. The citizens were uneducated in this respect, not knowing the effects of a cyclone and they were also unaware of the storm surge that would follow. This was what caused the most damage (90%), not the high speed winds. Without a proper evacuation plan, everything was chaotic so people were not prepared for the cyclone. Due to poor education and information available, citizens were unsure how to prepare themselves and react to the situation leading to more deaths. In the year 1991, these poor people had no hand phones, television or radios so they could not access information or keep updated. Few of them were in urban areas, in the rural areas there was no electricity to power these appliances anyway. The government did not prepare emergency supplies of food and water, this led to starvation and diseases.

Short-term response after the cyclone (e.g. disaster relief, emergency aid)
Training for disaster relief, emergency aid and local rescue workers was not thorough. The inexperienced workers were momentarily dazed by the disaster and were not prepared. Their slow reaction meant that many more people were injured and killed. Their equipment would not be as abundant and useful like in HICs such as USA, because that requires money. Due to a lack of transport, local rescue workers could not reach some stricken areas. Important things like band-aids and medical supplies ran out fast because they are expensive. With so many people needing help, there were simply not enough supplies to aid everybody. Simultaneously, the government failed to provide sufficient cyclone shelters for everybody affected. Thus the number of homeless people increased. Emergency electricity supplies and telephone links failed to work. Due to hundreds of acres of farmland and crops destroyed, there was insufficient food and a shortage of clean water—leading to further deaths from starvation and disease. With little help from richer countries, Bangladesh had to face huge costs they could not sustain, and people were left homeless and unemployed. American soldiers returning from war were redirected to Bangladesh and they save thousands of people. The government provided seeds for farmers to replant their crops.

Long-term response after the cyclone (e.g. improving prediction, making  adjustments to the previous preparation plan, redesigning buildings etc.)
Bangladesh looked to strengthen their cyclone warning system and make sure everybody is informed next time. Now they use television, radio, megaphones, house-to-house visits and other ways to inform people. Now, Bangladesh uses much more modern technology to predict the path of the cyclone. Recent statistical methods have been introduced for the forecasting of cyclone paths. Before they only used old subjective methods based on synoptic maps. Now SPARRSO (Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation) has installed a model named TYAN to predict the track of a cyclone based on climatology of Bay of Bengal Cyclones for the last 100 years. The model has shown promising results for the forecast of cyclone movement, some 24 hours ahead of landfall—giving more time to announce the cyclone’s coming and allow people to evacuate and prepare. Many strongly built houses have been constructed high above sea level to serve as shelters for people in low-lying areas in the coastal region. Trees have been planted along the coastal area to help absorb some impact from the storm surge. A Flood Action Plan has been developed in case of emergencies. Now, each rescue worker team has basic warning equipment: handheld sirens, megaphones, signal lights, first aid kit and a transistor radio. School teachers, social workers and other people have raincoats, life jackets, torch lights and other equipment to help them in dangerous situations. But they do have other priorities as Bangladesh is still an LIC, so not that much has changed. However, the government is still more experienced and knowledgeable now.

Managing natural hazards

'Managing' natural hazards is really about learning to live with them and knowing what's best to do in times when the hazard is actively taking place. There are at least 6 major steps here:

  1. Risk assessment: determining the probability of a particular hazard happening and the scale of its possible damage
  2. Prediction: putting in place monitoring systems that might give warning about an imminent (forthcoming) hazard
  3. Preparation (adjustment): finding ways of reducing the possible death toll and the scale of damage of property. Educating people about the hazards of the areas in which they live and what to do in case of an emergency is important here
  4. Hazard event: the natural hazard that has been anticipated and planned for happens
  5. Recovery: first emergency aid then repairing the damage. 
  6. Appraisal: an examination of what happened after the event with many questions to be asked and answered. Were there emergency plans ready to put into action? How effective were the preparations that had been made before the event? What should be done to make them better in the future?
Case Study of the Management of a Tectonic Event in an HIC: