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Home >> Environment and Poverty Times #3: Disaster issue

Collection: Environment and Poverty Times #3: Disaster issue

Environment and Poverty Times #3: Disaster issueEnvironment and Poverty Times #3: Disaster issue
This edition of the Environment Times illustrates the problems and challenges before us, showing many practical examples on how useful preventive action can be taken. It lays out why we must think “environment” at every stage of disaster management, be it in preparing, preventing, mitigating or reacting. As for the structure of the paper, the intention was to present the material in the order of the stages of disasters: from prevention early warning and preparedness to relief and reconstruction. This proved to be difficult, as we all know that ‘reconstruction starts with prevention’, but we nevertheless kept this basic roster, although certain articles could fit in different categories. The four stages are each preceded by an example of a natural event and an industrial accident, where the authors show the linkages between environmental management, risk reduction and effect on livelihoods. The end of the paper gives the floor to different industrial sectors and features the role of the local level in disaster management. Another double page is dedicated to more general refl ections on the role of environmental management in disaster risk reduction. The central pages feature a set of maps displaying issues related to disasters that possibly are not necessarily perceived as such. (Special Edition for the World Conference on Disaster Reduction January 18-22, 2005, Kobe, Japan)
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/et/ep3
Threat of bad bugs Threat of bad bugs
Locust invasions are a major threat to the agriculture, pasture, food security and social stability of rural populations occupying a very large area from Western Africa to Northern India. Large amounts of chemicals are being used to check this plague, at considerable risk to the environment and public health. As a hazard locusts depend on the wind and rain to travel.
03 Oct 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Natural and industrial disasters Natural and industrial disasters
Some places are more prone to disaster than others. But that does it take to turn a cyclone into a disaster in one place and just a climatic event somewhere else? The main reasons are obvious enough. Economically deprived people living in shacks are more likely to suffer from any calamity. Rich countries may have more to lose financially, but they also have more resources for anticipating hazards. There are many ways of determining vulnerability,...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Barren Lands Barren Lands
Deforestation is well known for aggravating erosion. Bare soil has no protection against heavy rain, washing away immediately. On hillsides, it readily turns into mudslides leaving people very little time to seek refuge and cutting deep ravines into the earth. And where deforested land was turned into cultivated fields, the soil is likely to be overused and exploited through intensive use of fertiliser.
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Awareness and preparedness for emergencies at local level (APELL) sites in India Awareness and preparedness for emergencies at local level (APELL) sites in India
Awareness and preparedness for emergencies at local level (APELL). APELL achieves its aims through community participation in emergency planning, via a structured dialogue between representatives of the source of the hazard (e.g. a land-owner), local authorities (the emergency services, e.g. fi re and /or police) and community leaders (who inform their constituencies). This dialogue is achieved through a ‘Co-ordinating Group’ which reviews the h...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
2
Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo
In the DCR, thousands people earn their living from digging with bare hands and simple shovels to extract ore. They live with the constant risk of exposure to toxic and radioactive substances. Moreover they run a high risk of being buried by a collapsing tunnel, security measures being almost non-existent.
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Early warning systems Early warning systems
Every year, disasters caused by weather, climate and water-related hazards impact on communities around the world, leading to loss of human life, destruction of social and economic infrastructure and degradation of already fragile ecosystems. Statistics from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the university of Leuven, Belgium, reveal that from 1992-2001, about 90% of natural disasters were meteorological or hydrol...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Fish catch and production Fish catch and production
Fishing activities have various negative impacts on marine ecosystems. The greatest cause for concern is the rapid depletion of fish population due to extensive commercial fishing. In 2002 72% of the world’s marine fish stocks were being harvested faster than they can reproduce. Bycatch – the harvest of fish or shellfish other than the species for which the fishing gear was set – accounts for a quarter of the total catch (27m tonnes in 2003) an...
01 Feb 2006 - by Stéphane Kluser
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Typology of Hazards Typology of Hazards
With growing population and infrastructures the world’s exposure to natural hazards is inevitably increasing. This is particularly true as the strongest population growth is located in coastal areas (with greater exposure to floods, cyclones and tidal waves). To make matters worse any land remaining available for urban growth is generally risk-prone, for instance flood plains or steep slopes subject to landslides. The statistics in the graph opp...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Economies at risk - disasters, poverty and agricultural dependence Economies at risk - disasters, poverty and agricultural dependence
Natural disasters and conflict disrupts the livelihoods and financial stability of countries, and the people. A high dependence on agriculture signifies a high sensitivity to changes in the environment, such as drought and floods. This map highlights countries with high shares of agrilculture, and also countries with high incidence of poverty, another factor in assessing the vulernability of rural population.
07 Nov 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Caribbean casualties due to hurricanes Caribbean casualties due to hurricanes
From Trinidad to Tallahassee, Florida, tropical storms have ravaged the Caribbean basin, exacting a multibillion-dollar toll on housing, schools, hospitals, roads and sewage systems. Most of the casualties were in Haiti. But almost no community escaped unscathed. In Grenada, half of the population is now homeless, the famed nutmeg groves flattened, the power plants wrecked. The tourism industry that was the island’s lifeblood could take years to ...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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No shelter - refugees, sanitation and slums No shelter - refugees, sanitation and slums
In the face of any calamity we instinctively take refuge under a roof. This is little use against a chemical or nuclear accident, but for many there is no other resort. The number of people currently living in shanty towns is rising in all the big cities of the developing world, where urban growth is generally uncontrolled. The map shows how small the proportion of city dwellers with improved access to sanitation in many places is, giving an ide...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Global costs of extreme weather events Global costs of extreme weather events
The loss data on great natural disasters in the last decades show a dramatic increase in catastrophe losses. A decade comparison since 1960 is shown in the table. The reasons for this development are manifold and encompass the increase in world population and the simultaneous concentration of people and values in large conurbations, the development of highly exposed regions and the high vulnerability of modern societies and technologies, and fina...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Trends in natural disasters Trends in natural disasters
With growing population and infrastructures the world’s exposure to natural hazards is inevitably increasing. This is particularly true as the strongest population growth is located in coastal areas (with greater exposure to floods, cyclones and tidal waves). To make matters worse any land remaining available for urban growth is generally risk-prone, for instance flood plains or steep slopes subject to landslides. The statistics in this graphic r...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Conflicts and disasters - potential powder kegs (landmines and other explosives) Conflicts and disasters - potential powder kegs (landmines and other explosives)
The planet is scattered with hazardous or explosive leftovers from a succession of technical breakthroughs – be they military or industrial – just waiting to be washed away by a flood or mudslide or carried off by a hurricane. If disaster strikes these “powder kegs” multiply the danger to people and the environment (posing a particularly acute threat to already scarce water resources).
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Industrial hot spots Tisza river basin Industrial hot spots Tisza river basin
On 30 January 2000 a tailings dam at the Aurul Mine in Romania overflowed and released 100,000 cubic metres of effluent containing cyanide into the Tisza River. By the time the overflow was detected, the alarm raised and emergency measures taken to staunch the flow, heavily contaminated wastewater had reached the Danube River and was on its way to Hungary and beyond. Traces of cyanide, albeit at a very low level, were still detected in the rive...
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
2
Crushed by war - world conflicts Crushed by war - world conflicts
For people in countries at war or subject to economic embargos many goods are scarce, food and water constituting the most crucial shortages. But they also have to deal regularly with death and injury. In such countries disaster prevention may well not be a priority.
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
2
Tropical cyclone frequency Tropical cyclone frequency
Tropical cyclones, or hurricanes or typhoons, are storm weather systems, characterised by a low pressure centre, thunderstorms and high windspeeds. As the name testifies, these occur in the areas between the tropics, in the tropical areas. Cyclones can, after they have formed in the oceans, move in over populated areas, creating much damage and even natural disasters.
01 Feb 2006 - by Emmanuelle Bournay, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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