Causes of the lack of development Objectives To identify how environmental factors (hazards) can affect development levels
Environmental hazards Environmental hazards are short-term natural events that threaten life and property. Some result from severe variations from average climatic conditions. Are natural hazards more likely to affect tropical areas, where the majority of LEDCs are located?
“ Climatic hazards are more responsible for loss of life than tectonic hazards.” Is this statement true or false? Give reasons.
Drought occurs when the rainfall in an area is significantly lower than the average amount expected. The shaded area in Africa has been the most drought affected part of the world since 1970. The drought in Ethiopia in the 1980’s eventually reached massive media attention. Rural food supplies were reduced, leading to malnutrition and death, and fewer crops were available for export, affecting both the income of farmers and the national economies. Niger, further west in the Sahel, was the latest country to suffer from severe drought in 2005. In comparison, the great British drought of 1995 was no more than an inconvenience and a cost to relatively few people, it was not a matter of life or death.
Tropical storms, with their hurricane-force winds and torrential downpours, can destroy settlements and wipe out fields of sugar cane and plantations of bananas. Only the fringes of 3 MEDCs are at real risk from tropical storms – USA, Australia and Japan. Otherwise all of the worst affected countries are LEDCs, with a high proportion of houses built of flimsy materials and no emergency shelters. Among the worst-hit countries are Caribbean island states, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Floods occur after heavy or prolonged rainfall causes rivers to burst their banks. There is also coastal flooding due to tropical storms, or tidal surges and big waves that follow earthquakes. Rainfall in the tropics is usually heavy and accompanied by thunder and lightning. The greatest loss of life from flooding is on the densely populated lowlands surrounding the many big rivers in South-East Asia. Bangladesh, with its low-lying coastal location on the Ganges delta, has the highest risk of all.
Earthquakes and volcanoes are restricted to clearly defined zones along plate boundaries. Although many happen in countries lying outside the tropics, when they do strike, poor countries tend to be hit harder than rich ones. In wealthy places like California and Tokyo, all new buildings must be constructed to withstand strong earthquake shocks, but in poor countries like Iran and India many houses are self-built or made of cheap materials; even id=f regulations exist, they are rarely enforced and widely flouted.
<ul><li>Choose 3 of the statements below. For each one: </li></ul><ul><li>State information to support it. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how it occurs. </li></ul><ul><li>Colonial history still limits economic development today in LEDCs. </li></ul><ul><li>Stable government favours economic development, poor government hinders it. </li></ul><ul><li>Climatic hazards are responsible for more loss of life than tectonic hazards. </li></ul><ul><li>Tropical areas are more badly affected by climatic hazards than temperate regions. </li></ul><ul><li>In MEDCs, environmental hazards are more likely to cause economic losses than loss of life. </li></ul>