In this essay I will examine both physical and human factors posed by volcanic and seismic events and argue to what extent the level of poverty and wealth is the greatest factor in the damage caused. I will do this by examining a range of case studies from both LEDC’s and MEDC’s for seismic and volcanic events and not only seeing the impact but what type of impact the events have on the world poorest people.
To be able to understand how volcanic and seismic events affect the world poorest people, the way in which a location has mitigated the potential effects of these hazards needs to be considered. This is because the more developed a nation, tends to correlate with the more prepared/mitigatedness for volcanic and seismic events, rather than the vulnerability of a location. For example, Haiti was warned by Paul Mann (a famous geologist) that a catastrophic earthquake could happen there, despite this Haiti lacked the sufficient resources to be able to deal with such warnings. The residents of Haiti, especially Port au Prince would agree that it was the lack of preparation that made the earthquake a lot more devastating than it could have been, however Haiti was already reliant 30% on international aid of their GDP even before the earthquake, despite this they would argue it would have been in the best interests for a somewhat harder effort to protect them from the quake. Because of this vulnerability posed by Haiti’s lack of resources, it made the Earthquake in 2010 much worse. Haiti experienced a magnitude 7 earthquake, which was relatively small compared with the size of the devastation it caused- Japan Earthquake 2011 had larger fore and aftershocks. Despite this, L’Aquila Italy registered an earthquake of 5.9, killing 300 people largely due to building collapse. The management used by the Italian government has little effect and many of the ‘earthquake proof’ buildings were destroyed in the earthquake. Seismologists monitoring the event were later sent to prison for manslaughter after failing to predict the seismic event which was being monitored at the time. This will displease the local residents as the money they pay through taxes will have been used to fund earthquake protection. It is difficult to suggest to what extent a country can be protected from a seismic event when many of the attempts appear insignificant. On the other hand, Italy has a Civil Protection Department which train volunteers to help in such disasters such as earthquakes which proved to be the most successful planning procedure taken, and many in Haiti would agree this could have been helpful in the event of their earthquake.
Preparedness, planning and mitigation of seismic events only go part of the way to ensuring the hazards posed are minimised. However, a large factor influencing the severity of the events is the uncontrollable nature of the event. The nature of the event is a physical factor in which is difficult to minimise or control. For example Monserrat is a Caribbean island located on the subduction zone between the N.American plate and the Caribbean plate. This is a destructive plate margin which has formed the volcano on the island. Resulting from the eruption was pyroclastic flows, ash, debris and avalanches with occasional lava flows. The eruption was explosive with viscous and andesitic lava coming from the dome volcano. Due to the small size of the island and the relatively dense population of 11,000 people the eruption was particularly devastating allowing no chance of a way of managing the eruption regardless of the wealth/poverty of a nation. 2/3rds of the island has become uninhabitable. For residents there, they have had to relocate to America, Mexico or neighbouring islands; this makes employment difficult as previously the farmland was completely destroyed by the