Mitigation Planning Essay

Submitted By Walkc8653
Words: 2063
Pages: 9

Disasters are natural events that cause significant damage to life or property. These natural events can strike or occur at any moment in time. In order to prepare for such occurrences that can result in loss of property or life we need to understand the process of mitigation. There are many places around the world where people live and work in the proximity of dangerous volcanoes, and where the problems of decreasing the volcanic risk caused by future eruptions are becoming more and more difficult to solve as the population density increases with time (Dobran, 2004). Recently on the East coast there has been a disastrous hurricane named, Sandy. Sandy was our first Super Storm in history. This hurricane brought on many new problems that New York was not prepared for. Such as; large sections of New York City’s subway systems being waterlogged and destroyed by Hurricane Sandy (Pyper, 2012). This tragic event raised important questions on how to better protect from flooding and how to revise the protection plan in case of sea level flooding or in this case, a hurricane (Pyper, 2012). Not even weeks after Hurricane Sandy, New York City experienced another disastrous blow from a stratovolcano. This eruption gave little to no warning of its arrival. In the midst of scrambling to rebuild and make New York a safe place to live once again, this volcanic eruption decided to crush all hope. This large steep sided volcano erupted violently, releasing high volatile content, ash, layers of lava flow and fragmental debris (Hyndman, 2011). The rhyolite lava spews down the slope moving slowly and cooling while reaching about 50 kilometers past the base of the volcano. This stratovolcano bursts gas driven ash and broken rubble 20 kilometers into the atmosphere along with a mixture of rain, snow and dirt pouring downslope as a lahar, or mudflow (Hyndman, 2011). This could potentially result in tens or hundreds of thousands dead and affect millions of people who live in the 30 kilometer radius of the volcano where the infrastructures are totally inadequate for the territory of such a high risk (Dobran, 2004). All of these hazards coming from this one disastrous stratovolcano will result in loss of much more than property. The pyroclastic flow which is the mixture of hot volcanic ash and steam rushes downslope at about 100 miles per second (Hyndman, 2011). Early warning for this is virtually impossible. Rushing ahead of this pyroclastic flow is a lateral blast of ash known as a surge (Gaudru, 2012). This surge is full of poisonous, even lethal gases and this will be the beginning of the destruction in New York City. These poisonous gases consist of; sulfur compounds, chlorine and fluorine that reacts with water to form damaging acids that are harmful to the eyes, skin and respiratory system of humans and animals even in small concentrations (Hyndman, 2011). The most damaging hazard in this case for humans will be the lahars produced from this stratovolcano. These lahars will proceed very quickly and possess great destructive power (Hyndman, 2011). The heavy rain fall and already flooded areas in New York City will add great velocity to the potential destruction. The ash produced from this violent volcano will cover New York City like a blanket of snow that’s about three to four feet deep. The danger from the build-up of ash will cause roofs of homes and businesses to collapse (Gaudru, 2012). In addition, transportation systems will be largely affected from the ash clogging and vent system or air-intake systems creating a city wide blockage for safely evacuating the affected areas (Hyndman, 2011). New York City already has response plans set up for the preparation of a potential hazard or disastrous event. The following are agencies likely to respond to a disaster in New York City, depending on the scale and nature of what the disaster might be. When a disaster such as this volcanic eruption strikes the first section to receive this