Vulnerability Reduction

According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, my hometown Guangzhou has low probability in earthquake and extratropical storms, medium probability in hailstorms and wildfires, and high probability in tropical cyclones and tornado. In my own experience, I didn’t experience many natural disasters except typhoon, but since I live in the middle of the city and wasn’t close to shore, there weren’t many great damages. It would be warmer during El Niño and cooler during La Niña. As for trends in temperature and precipitation between the year of 1978 and 2007, Guangzhou had increase in temperature but decrease in precipitation. Overall I think the map gives us an good overview of natural disasters, but if we want to have more detailed information, we would need a smaller scale map.

My chosen event is an earthquake in Nemuro,Japan. The earthquake was magnitude 4.2 at the depth of 32.33km. However, it’s unusual to experience earthquake in Guangzhou, there may be some small earthquakes happened nearby, but the last known was over 50 years ago. Since we don’t experience a lot of earthquake, it makes us more vulnerable to this type of disaster, as the city lacks the experience to cope with it. Furthermore, Guangzhou is a very populated city and it’s a developed urban area, it also means there would be more economic loss. The scale of this earthquake in Japan is relatively small comparing to my hometown, because it happened 153km away in sea, and the magnitude is low. If this happened in Guangzhou, I don’t think it would cause a big problem due to the low magnitude and deep source, but I think it would cause more damage than the current location. The reason why I think it would cause a worse result is that Guangzhou is an over-populated city, and it’s inland, if an earthquake happened in the center of the city, it would affect more people. Another reason is that the earthquake happened in sea and Japan has more experiences coping with earthquakes, but Guangzhou does not, which I think would be problematic. Different people in my hometown would have different levels of vulnerability towards the event, children and seniors are more vulnerable than others. Also, where people locate at the time of event also matter. The city has many skyscrapers, especially in the city center, and there are not many open grounds in the city, so if the earthquake strike, it may cause the buildings to fall, and people may not have enough open spaces to hide. In order to decrease the city’s vulnerability to such disaster, I think we can improve the buildings’ structure and makes it more resistant to earthquakes, and governments should develop a more detailed plan to cope with such emergencies.

Typhoon is the most popular natural hazard in Guangzhou. In my experience, cyclones are very active in our areas especially during summers, and the rain and wind can cause some troubles in our daily life. Strong wind sometimes break down tree, or cause items to fall off from tall buildings, these can be dangerous to people passing by. Heavy rain is also problematic, although it’s not very life-threatening, but water-logging in the city can cause traffic jams and it’s very inconvenient. Some ways to decrease our vulnerability includes keeping items off the windows, improving drainage system and improving our forecast system and management plan.

In our lesson, we learn about some methods to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards, and I think both pre-event preparedness and post-event recovery and reconstruction are very important to Guangzhou. The government should develop stronger emergency plans to cope with natural hazards, and citizens should remain pre-cautious before the event occur if possible. Building resilience in non-disaster time is also a good response, for example, we can improve our drainage system to prevent water-logging problems during non-event times. In order to efficiently deal with these problems, not only the government but also citizens should take their responsibilities, when government can enhance infrastructures and develop plans for the city, citizens can start with some smaller places, or work in teams to help the local community. As for myself, I would work on some small things like enhancing our shelf on the balcony so it would be more resistant in bad weather, and I would consider joining local organizations to provide helps from some other aspects.

1 thought on “Vulnerability Reduction

  1. Hi! My name is Neil Karmaker and you can find my blog post here:

    Your hometown of Guangzho sounds very similar to my hometown of West Nyack, at least in terms of environmental hazards. However it seems that due to the significantly denser populous in your town, a hazard could become a disaster much more readily than my town.

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