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Week 12 Lecture Note

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Final Exam:
Study guide on Blackboard
Friday, April 29, 2-4pm, room MW 170
Please arrive 20 minutes early
Japan Tsunami Mar 11, 2011
What impact do you think such natural disaster had on the population?
oEconomic consequences they’ve been dismantled for the time being
Towns are destroyed
You can imagine economic consequences for building infrastructure in
the cities is huge
The earthquake on March 11 is the most expensive natural disaster
that is known in history so far
We have this earthquake and tsunami in a region that has quite used
to have earthquakes and tsunamis because Japan is located on the
Pacific rim
Japan is used to earthquakes, this is why Japan built their
infrastructure accordingly
However, this time, it was the severest earthquake ever measured on
the Richler scale 8.9 (never measured before)
This is why a country like Japan is prepared for those events
The coastline is prepared for high waves like tsunamis up to 5 meters,
so the walls that secure the cities are 5 meters high, however the
tsunami this time was 10 meters high
This is why the natural disaster struck Japan in that way
If you look at devastation in Kasanuma, its a city about 50,000 and to
rebuild the whole town will take decades to do so
This of course brings us to whether people should migrate
oConsequences for the elderly
oMigration and displacement
Some people in towns like Kasanuma are displaced because they lost
their houses
Others think that the economic consequences are so severe that they
tend to think about migrating to a different place
However, migration in Japan has taken place for quite a while to big
cities, this is why we have the biggest city in the world
Tokyo has over 6 million people, it might be difficult to take up more
people in these old cities
Mostly young people move to these centers before things like this
natural disaster happened
This is why we find lots of elderly in smaller towns and villages, and
these people usually have difficulties to adjust to this new situation
because mostly their income was fishing in these towns which they
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cant do anymore, or they refer to income that is not transferable to
other cities
Some people have survived and their houses are not affected by waves,
but some have been affected and they need to think about moving
although not affected
Lots of people lost their families/partners in the disaster and they
need to build their lives from scratch
Environmental refugees
A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to
return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for
reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or
political opinion
Environmental refugees are those people who have been forced to leave their
traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental
disruption (natural and/or triggered by people) that jeopardized their existence
and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. By environmental disruption in
this definition is meant any physical, chemical, and/or biological changes i the
ecosystem (or resource base) that render it, temporarily or permanently, unsuitable
to support human life
oBroad definition of refugees, since then not much has been done to this
oAll the people in Japan in these harbouring towns would be environmental
oHowever, some of them as we just discussed here might not be forced to leave
by the environmental impact in the first place because their house/company is
still there
oHowever, the infrastructure in the town might be damaged and this is why
they think in the long run their businesses or lives will be impacted where
they are
oWe cant think in black and white, but we should think on a scale between
voluntary or forced migration
Environmental refugees
Three main causes why people might leave due to environmental impact:
oDisaster = an unintended catastrophic event triggers human migration
oExpropriation = the wilful destruction of environment renders it unfit for
human habitation
A government decides that we have to make space for the new
development that benefits more people than it has
E.g. three gorgeous dam in China that was built, and one million
people had to leave to space for the water and dam that flooded the
land and had to move to bigger cities/provinces
Ecocide Vietnam war, used pesticides to get clearer signs in
rainforest to hunt down the enemy, and people were affected
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