Disease epidemics and plagues. 2 * Natural hazards are any natural events here people see a perceived risk in terms of life or property. 3 Earthquakes that strike in uninhabited areas may not cause any damage, but the Newcastle earthquake on 28 December 1989 caused loss of life and widespread damage in the city. Similarly, landslides in isolated areas are not seen as a problem, but the landslide that struck Throbbed in the snowy mountains in 1 997 a natural disaster, with the loss of eighteen lives and extensive property damage.
Some argue this was due to poor building construction. 4 The impact of natural hazards in Australia has been minimal compared to that in other countries because: Australia is a stable continent L] * Australian homes are well constructed C] * Australia is not a densely populated nation. 5 * Floods C] Few parts of Australia are immune from flooding (see peg. 46). Areas where floods most commonly occur in Australia include northern Australia (associated with monsoonal depressions in summer), coastal areas of eastern Australia (associated with low pressure systems and fronts).
CLC Flooding can be localized flash flooding from intense rain, or more widespread and longer lasting inundations. Some inland areas, such as Lake Ere, are often influenced by rain falling hundreds of geometers away. 6 Fig. 2. peg. 46 shows that cyclones are common in the tropical areas of Australia. C] Bushfire: L] Fig(2. 5) peg 46. Shows that bushfire are common in the southern portion of Western Australia and South Australia and coastal Queensland. Quite extensive portions of NEWS, Hobart and Victoria are also prone to bushfire. 7 Fig. (2. ) shows that earthquake zones are scattered across Australia’s mainland (Northern Australia, Central Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, NEWS and Victoria). This is because Australia is surrounded to the north-west, north-east and east by some km of active tectonic plate. 8 The Newcastle earthquake in 1989 was the cost costly natural disaster in Australia to date ($4300 million), closely followed by cyclone Tracy in Darwin 1972 ($4070 million). Other significant disasters in terms of community costs include the Sydney hail storm in 1999 and bushfire in 1983. Australia’s large land mass and climatic diversity contributes to the dynamic nature and extent of natural hazards in Australia. The varying impact of hazards in Australia is also influenced by the amount of warning to a community prior to a hazard (and therefore preparedness of the population), the population density where the natural hazard strikes and the nature and extent of he hazard. 10 Human activity can directly intensify the onset and impact of natural hazards. For example, in severe storm wave events houses can be lost when people build on unstable land that is too close to the waterfront.
Humans can intensify the impact of drought due to overgrazing of stock and increased demands for water extraction during times of low flow in rivers. Bushfire can start by natural means (such as lightning strikes), however, humans can act carelessly by throwing cigarette butts out of car windows into bush land and start or spread bushfire. 11 Natural hazards can be separated into two main categories: CLC Those related to weather and climatic factors – drought, flood, headwaters, bushfire, strong winds, storms, tropical cyclones and tornadoes.
C] Those related to movements in the Earth’s crust landslides, earth tremors, earthquakes and tsunamis. 12 85% of Australia’s population lives near the coast. Capital cities over populated Impacts natural hazard has on the community is very costly Media coverage because of the effects on large number of people. Effects in more sparsely settled areas less noticeable Droughts occur over many years and affect large areas of the continent. Felt by rural communities. Costing thousand of dollars 3 Three main categories: L] Social impacts – loss of life, stresses placed on families and people.