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How Do Variations in an Area’s Income Level Affect the Social, Economic and Environmental Impact of a Cyclone?

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How Do Variations in an Area’s Income Level Affect the Social, Economic and Environmental Impact of a Cyclone?

All hurricanes may hold an element of danger, but some have many more catastrophic social, economic and environmental impacts, mainly due to an area’s income level. Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis were both very powerful tropical storms, but differed greatly in impacts in the two areas, due to economic reasons, as we will explore in this essay. On the morning of 29th August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, with winds of around 200 km/h and 200-250mm of rainfall in Louisiana and a storm surge of 8.5m in Mississippi. The area of New Orleans holds both affluent and very poor areas within the city, meaning the population were affected differently when the hurricane struck. Before the hurricane hit land, the mayor of New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city, with an estimated 80% of people leaving the city before the storm hit. This significantly reduced the number of people killed, as the majority of the population has already left the country. However, 100,000 people didn’t evacuate, either because they wanted to protect their property or they simply could not afford to leave the area. The hurricane ripped through New Orleans, killing 1,836 people, leaving 3 million people without electricity and polluting water supplies with sewage, chemicals and the deceased. The hurricane also destroyed 300,000 people’s homes, meaning emergency shelters had to be set up for those left homeless. For example, The Louisiana Superdome held over 24,000 homeless people, as search and rescue teams continued to bring more people into the venue. Despite the planned use of the Superdome as an evacuation centre by FEMA, they still came under criticism for poor planning and preparation. Prior to the hurricane’s arrival, the shelter was equipped…...

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