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Magnitude: 9

Depth of focus: 32km

Plate boundary: destructive 

Time: 14:45

Development: MEDC

Population density: 337

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Social impacts:

The impact from the Japanese earthquake and subsequent secondary hazards were huge; leaving 15,000 people dead, 5,000 injurewd and over 9,000 missing. These impacts are surprising considering the level of development within Japan and the high preperation and awareness that Japan has; due to it being 1st on the hazard profile for earthquakes and second for tsunamis. Furthermore, the damage to infrastructure was high; with 45,000 buildings being destroyed. What must be considered is that although earthquake prevention systems have been tested and are very successful in Japan, the tsunami warning systems hadn't been; thus leading to such a high social impact; this can be exemplified by the fact that 92% of deaths were caused by drowning and show the significance of the tsunami on the impacts of this disaster. Furthermore, 4.4 million people were left without electricity; this is obviously detrimental to the society of Japan, but these impacts were also felt on the economy; with many buildings destroyed and a cut in power the economy was dealt a huge blow and was impacted upon significantly.

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Economic impacts

The developed economy of Japan is driven by both technology and industry; both of which were heavily affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. As a result of the earthquake industrial production was stopped at many manufacturing plants worldwide; including one in Norfolk where staff had to work reduced hours due to a lack of parts from Japan. This impacted upon the economy was significantly; also the estimated cost of rebuilding was huge; standing at $122 billion and the region that was affected accounts for 8% of Japan's GDP. Due to the development of the country the economic impact was great; also the fishing industry based in the Tohoku region is a significant employer and the damage in the area equated to $5 billion and 92% of fishing boats were deemed un-usable. The impact of the economy was huge both locally and globally due to the unpreparedness of both the country and specifically Tohoku for the secondary impact of the tsunami which flooded and seriously damaged the fishing industry of the region. 

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The impact by the earthquake on the environment was minimal; however, the subsequent secondary hazard of the tsunami posed a significant threat to not only Japan, but to the rest of the world. The tsunami impacted upon the Fukishma nuclear power plant  and after a series of fires and equipment failures a worldwide emergency was declared after radiation leaks were emitting levels of radiation that exceeded legal limits. 

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Degg disaster

The impacts from this tectonic event were significant; when reviewing the Degg disaster model the earthquake has relatively low impacts because the physical hazard; the earthquake met a very prepared nation. However when the disaster of the tsunami occurred there was a high impact due to the physical hazard meeting a very prepared nation. 

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Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the world with a GDP of $3.6 billion. The 2010 earthquake caused great devastation across the country and as the Inter American Bank put it: "the Haitian earthquake of 2010 caused five time more deaths per million inhabitant than the second ranking natural killer; the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake. This high magnitude event matched with a poorly prepared nation led to horrific social economic and environmental consequences. 

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Social impacts

The social impacts of this earthquake were huge; mainly due to the underdevelopment nation. This coupled with hurricane Tomas just months after the earthquake led to intensified impacts. People affected topped 3 million (Red Cross) with 222,570 deaths (USGS) and led to the displacement of 1.3 million people; furthermore damage to infrastructure was significant due to again the lack of preparation and awareness of the communities with 97,294 buildings being destroyed. Furthermore the focus of the quake was shallow; 13km which would have involved intense shaking and would've enhanced the buildings collapse. The impacts for this earthquake were intensely social with such a high death toll; however the impact upon the economy of an already poor nation was also significant. 

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Economically the impact of the Haitian earthquake was devastating. The Haitian economy is only $3.6 billion and therefore any impact upon this will have an effect on the overall development of the country. It is estimated that the impact of the earthquake will cost $8.5 billion in damage to the Haitian economy and this is exemplified by the Inter American Development Banks figure suggesting that in 2010 as a result of the earthquake Haiti's economy contracted by 5.1%. In an already underdeveloped country this is a huge amount for the economy to decrease by, and is unsustainable; the World Bank and IMF will provide loans to the Haitian government however, they will then become reliant upon them in the near future; and will again hinder development. 

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Environmentally the main impact was Hurricane Tomas which indirectly led to a huge number of casualties from water borne diseases; since the catastrophe 5000 people have died due to cholera. Another environmental problem in Haiti is that of building waste; some 40-50% of buildings fell in Port-au-Prince and nearby towns.(thegoodhuman.com)

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Degg Disaster and Haiti

The impacts from this tectonic event were significant; when reviewing Deggs Disaster Model the earthquake had very high impacts; this is because the physical event met a very unprepared and vulnerable population who lacked the capacity to cope. The lack of development was a major factor in this earthquake because the secondary impacts such as death from cholera are so high due to a lack of healthcare provision, within the country.

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Asian tsunami

Magnitude: 9

Depth of focus: 10km 

TIme: 08:00

Plate boundary: Destructive

Development: LEDC

Population density: 116

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The social impacts of the Asian tsunami were large and widespread; 227,898 people died in the disaster with 46 countries in total being affected. The UN also predicts that up to 5 million lives have been affected by the tsunami. Following the tsunami the survivors are threatened by diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever due to rotting corpses and destroyed sewer lines. The impact of this tsunami was significant due to a lack of development and subsequent lack of preparation and awareness. After this event the governments of affected countries realised that they needed to improve both warning system (preparation) and awareness to reduce the huge death toll. In October 2010 another tsunami hit Sumatra and although the physicality of the tsunami was different the impact was also a lot less, probably due to an improved awareness of the secondary hazard; in this tsunami only 4,000 households were effected; which although significant was a lot less than the 2004 quake. 

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Economically; the impacts from the tsunami were large as the area struck is primarily made up of developing countries that have a reliance upon both primary industry and tourism. Both of which were hit by the disaster. Preliminary suggestions were that 66% of the fishing fleet in coastal region was destroyed, having a huge impact upon both the livelihoods of the communities and the overall economy as a whole. In Sri Lanka the estimated rebuild cost was $1.6 billion (bbcnews) however the major impact concerned the tourism industry; 1 in 5 hotels were unable to operate in the immediate aftermath of the event. The economy was badly hit by the event however the environmental consequences have the potential to hit the economy in the future. 

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Environmentally the impacts were upon ecosystems including coral reefs and mangroves; the destruction of such systems pose a real threat to coastal communities because these acted as a flood barrier and the loss of them exposes them to further risk. Furthermore the tsunami has had an impact upon groundwater sources; that the local communities rely upon for survival and contamination of such sources could have significant social consequences. 

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Degg disaster asia

When referring to the Deggs disaster model the impact from this disaster was so great because the population of affected regions were very vulnerable due to a lack of development and a subsequent lack of preparation and awareness. However, the 2010 Sumatran tsunami shows that with a greater preparation and awareness the impacts can be lessened. 

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Comparison HvJ

Haiti v Japan Both Haiti and Japan were large magnitude events with differing impacts. Japan’s earthquake had a lower impact due to its level of development and if the Haitian earthquake had occurred in Japan the impact would’ve been a lot less due to the infrastructure that would’ve have been present in a high income country such as Japan, furthermore the subsequent issue of water borne disease would’ve have been a lot lower due to a better provision of healthcare. In comparison; the actual Japanese earthquake had much lower social impacts than that of the Haitian earthquake due to a greater level of development. 

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Comparison H v A and J v A

Haiti v Asian: The initial impact of these two events were startlingly high; both had significant social consequences due to a lack of development within both regions. However, the long term consequences of the disasters has been starkly different; this is because of both the industry that the two are involved in and the secondary events that occurred within the region such as Hurricane Tomas in Haiti. 

Japan v Asian: The impact of the tsunamis upon Japan and Asia were the determining factor as to the high amount of social implications; because the Asian tsunami was far out to sea it caused no damage, and the Japanese population were very prepared for earthquakes so it resulted in only 8% of deaths from the overall disaster. However, the development of both countries was starkly different and this has implicated upon the recovery of both nations; Japan have recovered much quicker due to money being able to be diverted into a relief fund, however regions affected by the Asian tsunami didn't have the money to be able to do this and therefore rely upon aid. 

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Eyjafallajokull eruption (EYJ)

The EYJ eruption occurred in 2010 and had a range of impacts both locally and globally. There is a relatively low risk to communities due to the high level of preparedness and awareness. However, the primary hazard of the ash cloud resulted in severe disruption to air travel in the developed world. 

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Socially the impact of this event had varying impacts in different locations due to a varying level of preparation and awareness. Locally, the impact was relatively small; with 500 farmers having to be evacuated; this was due to a high prepardness and awareness in the surrounding communities.

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However, globally the airline industry was ill-prepared for the impacts of the ash cloud; it is estimated that the airline industry incurred losses of £130 million a day with an overall total of £2 billion. The problems with the airline industry also had an indirect effect on economies across the world; the Kenyan flower industry suffered losses of $2 million a day, however the New Zealand demand increased have a positive effect for their economy. Furthermore, the tourism industry in London suffered a loss of £102 million; the developed economy of the UK had led to an over reliance on air travel and this natural event led to the eruption being classed as a disaster; Swiss de Reid in 1990 classed a disaster as an event in which at leas 20 people were killed or $16 million was caused. So, although nobody was killed by the eruption the economic losses allow it to be classed as a disaster. 

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Environmentally the impacts were limited; although 140 million m3 of material was ejected there was not expected to be any negative impact upon the world climate. In actual fact the event was seen to be positive for the environment due to a massive reduction in air travel emissions. 

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Mount Merapi comparison

Mount Merapi erupted in 2010 and the consequences were that it had a much higher social impact; 224 people died where as although the ash cloud produced stopped air travel the reliance upon that industry was much reduced and therefore the economic impact was kept localised. 

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Mauna Loa

The fact that the communities affected have a much higher preperation and awareness result in a much reduced social impact; in the last century, only 1 person has been killed by eruptions from Mauna Loa. Although the social impact is reduced the economic impact is considerable. 

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Economically eruptions from Mauna Loa can cause serious damage. Property damage is very common and there is a strong likelihood that future eruptions are likely to cause future damage. However, the impacts of this tectonic activity are not only negative; tourism is driven by the want to see active volcanoes in action and therefore the local economy is actually built upon the tectonic activity and relies upon it. 

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When dealing with volcanoes it can be shown that a dormant volcanic eruption has greater social impacts than that of an active volcano. This is due to a higher level of community preparedness and awareness; as shown by the Mount Merapi eruption of 2010 and can also be shown by the Montserrat eruptions in which 2/3 of the population had to relocated due to intense volcanic activity in which the capital city of Plymouth was destroyed. Furthermore, specifically with dormant volcanoes such as Mount Merapi and EYJ the level of development within a country has an effect upon the social impacts. 

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Jonny Arnekleiv


Very good, Thanks!

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