Case Study Examples Climate The Environment And People
Case Study Examples: Climate, the Environment and People
A weather event caused by low pressure
(i) Name and locate a weather event that has been caused by a low pressure weather
Hurricane Mitch, which struck Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua in
Central America in October 1998.
(ii) Describe the weather event.
Hurricane Mitch formed over the Caribbean Sea around an area of very low
pressure, where the sea surface temperature was above 26°C. It started as a
tropical depression on the 21st
October, before increasing to a tropical storm
with winds speeds of 70mph on the 23rd
October. By the 26th
October it had
rapidly grown to a category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 180 mph.
There was heavy rain during the hurricane, which caused widespread and
catastrophic landslides and flooding in Honduras and Nicaragua. Between 300
and 1800 mm of rain fell in total.
(iii) Explain how the weather event affected different groups of people or organisations.
The hurricane killed over 11,000 people because many parts of Central
America are remote and little warning of the hurricane was given.
Approximately 1.5 million people were made homeless by the hurricane in
Honduras and a further 500,000 in Nicaragua. There was also a lack of food,
medicine and shelter for those who had been made homeless. People were
forced to live in makeshift homes made of wood, cloth and other materials they
could find. There was an increase in diseases such as cholera because people
were forced to drink dirty water. People living in a shanty town alongside a
river in Nicaragua were swept away by a storm surge and the flooding as their
poorly constructed housing could not withstand the floodwaters.
70% of the banana crops in Honduras were destroyed because of the high
winds and flooding in the hurricane. Therefore they were either battered and
trees blown down by the winds or the trees were flooded and could not survive
standing in stagnant water. The banana plantations are the main export crop
of Honduras and this caused major economy damage for the country as well as
unemployment for some of the plantation workers. Crop losses were estimated
at over $900 million in Honduras. Over 30% of the coffee crop was lost in
Nicaragua as well, causing losses to agriculture, the economy and jobs there.
In order to help the countries in Central America affected by the hurricane,
aid was provided by the USA, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Over $280 million in
aid was given to help Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala to rebuild houses,
provide food, shelter and medicines.