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Western University
Geography 2152F/G

Geography of hazards Lecture 1 Large Scale disasters- Kelman Should DDT be universally banned? Pesticide synthesized in 1874 Used to control mosquito’s in WW2 It is hazardous for birds Perception Between 300-500 million cases of Malaria in the world each year More than 1 million deaths (90% in Africa mostly children) After an extensive DDT program, there were only 17 cases in 1963 DDT is one of the only affordable tools against mosquitoes Important to keep context in mind Perception is highly contextual and subjective Perception is one of the central themes of the class, be sure to keep it in mind at all times What is a disaster? Pakistani Floods- July 2010 Followed heavy monsoon Estimates are that over 2000 people have died and over 1,000,000 homes have been destroyed UN estimates that over 22,000,000 people have been injured or are homeless That exceeds the combines total of the Haitian earthquake, Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the Kashmir earthquake. At one point 1/5 of Pakistan was under water The UN sec- General asked for 450 million- half has been approved Structural damage estimated at US $ billion Crop damage estimated at $500 mill Total economic impact is US 43 million ** Need to know what happened, how it happened and why it’s important** What is a perfect disaster? Large scale Effects other countries as well Countries were not prepared Perfect disaster- if this were to happen in North America then we would be able to recover faster, not having malaria etc. Disasters 1. Defined by the number of people affected and by the geography areas involved 2. An event that adversely affects a large number of people devastates a large geographical area’s and takes the resources of local communities and central governments. Disaster risk reduction Term developed to explain the process by which root causes of disasters need to be identified and tackled 1. Events must be separate  disaster occurrence vs. potential disaster Disaster occurrence: between people, potential disaster means that the potential for disaster is significant What if society is not considered? Disturbance definition: an event that removes organisms and opens up space for other individuals to colonize Why can this definition be described as neutral: it’s a replacement of species 2. Not confines to those resulting from rapid onset. For example soil erosion, drought, hunger, war. Catastrophic disasters: (Haitian tsunami), chronic disasters ( everyday occurrence, occurs regularly, and overwhelms the effected societies ability to cope, example hurricane season, waste management) and Creeping disasters: something that happens ongoing, on going change, that affects the societies ability to cope. Example: rising water levels, global warming. What are the political implications of such situations? Requires global policy to be put in place. Results in multi tear government being involved. Who else is affected by disasters? Wildlife, crops, exports. Disaster risk reduction Example Famine: Is famine a discrete event or an integral part of the process of development? Questions: 1. Should famine be tackled as the fundamental problem?  No because it comes from drought or flood and those other issues. Unstable governments are also a major issue. 2. Are their underlying developmental causes that should be addressed?  Lack of knowledge, lack of infrastructure to be set up., dispersal of food, if everyone were to be given an equal amount of food it would be 3500 calories, yet America wastes too much. Do natural disasters exist? “Natural disasters do not exist; they are socially constructed” – Turcious (2001) “ Strictly speaking, there are no such things as natural disasters” – UNISDR (2002) All disasters require human input Nature provides input through a normal event but human decision put people at risk Those decision are the root causes of a disaster, NOT ENVIORNMENTAL PHENOMENA Can you think of any examples of something that does not fit into the ‘natural’ definition
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