Explain why the Philippines and California multiple hazard hotspots are affected by disasters in different ways (15)
A hazard hotspot is an area exposed to multiple hazards, 2 or more, both geophysical (earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides) and hydro-meteorological (storms, floods and drought). A disaster is a hazard becoming reality in an event that causes deaths and damage to goods or property and the environment. California and the Philippines are 2 of the most high risk countries from multiple hazards, but they are both at different levels of development which affects their vulnerability. California is home to megacities like LA, and is an MDC so is more developed and prepared. Whereas the Philippines is an LDC and is very densely populates therefore is vulnerable to disasters and has a low capacity to cope.
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Coastal flooding is common due to the amount of coast on the Philippines because it is made up of many islands. Flash floods from 1990-2012 ki8lled 1,147 and has US$1billion is economic losses. Typhoon fengshen took place in June 2008 and 1.400 were killed.
The hazards are worse in the Philippines due to their dense population and urbanisation in coastal areas making people vulnerable, especially to flooding and tsunamis. Their small economy, less access to medical services and unstable infrastructure means they have a low capacity to cope.
In California earthquakes are common along the San Andreas Fault and very destructive. On 17th January 1994 in the LA area a 6.7 magnitude earthquake destroyed buildings, killed 50 people, left 20,000 without homes and cost $30 billion. There hasn’t been a volcano in California since 1915 at Lassen Peak, which devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash up to 200 miles east. It is now being monitored. Crescent city experienced a Tsunami when an earthquake off the coast of Alaska in 1964 occurred, killing 12 people. California is also prone to drought due to increased wind blowing Westwood from desert areas. This is caused by La Nina events meaning less evaporation therefore less precipitation. In March 2014 4 million people faced drought in California in a 400 mile long agricultural basin – the state’s main reservoirs were 40% capacity.
As California has better infrastructure (they invested in earthquake proof building design) and has good education and safety drills fewer people are affected by hazards although economic loss is high.
To conclude, the Philippines physical location means more frequent and destructive hazards but also their lack of development means it’s vulnerable with a low capacity to cope. In contrast California is more prepared so fewer lives are lost, but economic losses are higher than in the Philippines.