Guide to using the Ultimate Case study Guide

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Ultimate Case Study Guide

GCSE Geography

A guide to using the Ultimate Case study Guide
This guide is designed to help you prepare for your exams by collecting the case study information you have learnt during your GCSE and putting it all in one place.
This guide does not replace your notes. Part of your revision should be to go back over your notes and add further details to the information in this booklet. This is essential if you would like an A/A* grade in your exam and strongly recommended if you are aiming for a B.
You must know specific detail about case studies (e.g. figures or exact details). Without these you will only get half marks for case study answers. These are difficult to revise so try highlighting, mind maps, revision cards or testing yourself to try to get them into your head.
Finally, if you are worried about anything or unsure about your case studies find a geography teacher…we’re happy to help you get the best grade you can but we can’t do the work, revision or exam for you 
You can email questions to:

Mrs Cringle at

Miss Price at

Miss Plant at

Case Study Index


What do I need to know?

Examples you have studied:

Coasts and Rivers

  1. River flooding (causes, effects and management) in a LEDC

  2. River flooding (causes, effects and management) in a MEDC

  3. A river valley and it’s landforms

  4. A coastal area and its landforms

  5. Coastal management along one stretch of coastline.

  • Flood in MEDC: Boscastle 2004

  • Flood in LEDC: Bangladesh 1998

  • A River Valley: River Kent, Cumbria

  • A River Valley: River Tees

  • Coastal landforms, Erosion and Management: Holderness, UK

OR Norfolk, UK

People and Settlement

  1. A strategy to influence population change.

  2. International Migration from one country to another.

  3. Migration within one country (regional migration).

  4. Urban Change/ regeneration

  5. Change in shopping provisions.

  • A strategy to influence population change: China’s One Child Policy

  • International Migration: Poland to the UK

  • Regional migration: Maharashtra State to Mumbai

  • Regeneration in Stratford, London.

  • Change in shopping provisions: Hoddesdon town centre


Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent

Natural Hazards

  1. One tectonic hazard in a LEDC

  2. One tectonic hazard in a MEDC

  3. One climatic hazard in a LEDC

  4. One climatic hazard in a MEDC

Choose one from each number:

1. Tectonic hazard in a LEDC

  • Nevado del Ruiz volcanic eruption

  • Sichuan Earthquake, China

2. Tectonic hazard in a MEDC

  • Mount Etna volcanic eruption

3. Climatic hazard in a LEDC

  • Cyclone Nargis

  1. Climate hazard in a MEDC

  • Hurricane Katrina

Theme 1:

Rivers and Coasts

Flood in a MEDC: Boscastle

When? 16th August 2004

Where? The River Valency, North coast of Cornwall, in the south west of the UK

What happened?

  • A 3 meter flash flood carried trees, cars and other debris through the village.

  • Trees were washed downstream and became trapped by bridges in the town. This created dams which caused the water to build up and flow down the main street instead. Lots of damage to homes and businesses.

  • Over 80 cars were wrecked and four footbridges across the Valency River were destroyed.

Who was affected by the flood?

Around 1,000 residents were affected, 42 properties were flooded and four completely demolished. Locals – high insurance claims.

Loss of business to shop owners in Boscombe.

Tourism Industry – Loss of hotels and services provided to tourists.

People not able to travel around area (to school and work) due to flooded roads and destroyed infrastructure.

Why did the flood happen?

  • Heavy, concentrated rainstorm fell on steep sided valleys. 200 mm fell in a single day, most of it during a 5 hour spell. It was caused by warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean moving inland.

  • Human factors also contributed – building on the Valency’s floodplain in Boscastle.

How did people try to reduce flooding?

  • Removal of trees that were right on the banks of the river – prevents falling debris into the river in a future flood.

  • Raising bridges so they were less likely to trap debris and stop water flowing out of area.

  • Alternative flow channels – diverting water away from key settlements and tourist areas.

  • Afforestation on surrounding hillsides and careful land use – increased interception therefore less water flows towards town. Tree roots also suck up water.

Flood in a LEDC: Bangladesh

When? September 1998

Where? South Asia/ North East of India/ Coast on the Bay of Bengal
What happened?

  • 57% of the country was flooded

  • 1000 people were killed

  • Millions made homeless

  • Cost the country almost $1billion

  • Secondary impacts also bad e.g. shortages of drinking water and diseases spread

Why did the flood happen?

  • 70% of total land area is less than 1m above sea level (floods easily). Most of the land is the floodplain and delta of the River Ganges and Brahmaputra.

  • People encourage the rivers to flood their field (paddy fields growing rice)

  • Monsoon climate brings heavy rain in summer

  • Himalayas provide snow melt

  • Bangladesh suffers from cyclones

How are people trying to reduce flooding?

Bangladesh is an LEDC and has limited money to spend on river defences. However, they have:

  • Cluster villages – a village raised 2m above sea level for 20 – 30 families to live in

  • Raise homestead – individual homes are raised 2m above water level. Underneath is planted with vegetation to prevent erosion of the soil

  • Flood shelters – 2 hectares of raised land where people can take their livestock so it is safe. Each shelter has space for over 100 families with a community room and toilet

  • Rescue boats – located in areas most at risk

  • Radios – given to committees of people to prepare for when a flood happens

A River Valley and its features: River Kent


Cumbria, North West England, Flows through the Lake District. Source is Kentmere, Mouth is the Kent Estuary in Morcambe Bay. 32km in length.

Natural Features

Land Use

Upper Course

In the upper course the river drops height quickly. It begins just above the Kentmere Reservoir. It is also relatively shallow and narrow and its discharge is small. The river bed holds large angular rocks. There are a number of short waterfalls and rapids.

Farmland (mainly sheep farming on the fells where grazing land is poor quality and not good for anything else)

Water supply (the Kentmere Reservoir). Footpaths cross the area as it is a popular place for walkers. A few isolated houses/farms

Middle Course

As the river flows downstream the width, depth and discharge increase. Rocks become smaller and more rounded. Meanders start to form.

Farmland (The quality of the land is much better so cows and some crops are grown). Villages and Towns (e.g. Kendal) are built on the banks of the river.

Lower Course

In Kendal the river banks have been increased in height and made of stone. There is evidence of ox-bow lakes on the flood plain.

Kendal is a large town with high street shops (e.g. Topshop and Clintons) and lots of housing. Roads and railways.

Industry. At Burneside the paper mill uses water from the river.


Land in the valley is most valuable and therefore many people want to use it e.g. industry vs settlement. Settlements in this area are growing due to counterurbanisation and this puts pressure on farmland. Conflicts also occur between people who use the river. E.g. fishermen vs kayakers and reservoir owners vs paper mill.

A River Valley and its features : River Tees

Located in North East England. The source is high up in the Pennines in the West (Cross Fell 893m above sea level) and the river runs east into the North Sea.

Natural Features

Land Use

Upper Course

In the upper course the river

flows over hard, impermeable

rocks. The valley has steep sides forming a V-shape. The river channel is shallow and rocky and the river is turbulent and clear. In the upper course there is the famous High Force

waterfall - High Force is the tallest waterfall in England at 21 metres high.

Mainly farmland. Rough grazing of sheep – too steep to use machinery. Tourism – people want to see the waterfall so there are lots of walking trails.

Middle Course

As the River Tees flows

downstream the gradient becomes less steep. The river begins to erode sideways (lateral erosion) rather than downwards and the river begins to deposit sand and gravel. The lateral erosion means the river gets wider, the river valley gets wider and meanders begin to form.

Still mainly farmland – more crops where land is flatter. Larger towns and villages are beginning to be built where the land is flatter – such as Yarm and Stickton

Lower Course

Close to Yarm the River Tees has formed very large meanders. Some of these meanders have led to the formation of ox-bow lakes and flooding has caused levées to form. Levées are high banks of silt along the banks of a river.

The mouth of the River Tees is an estuary. An estuary is a river valley in a lowland area that has been flooded.

Port areas around Teeside – massive steel making industry during the industrial revolution. The River

Tees has a very wide estuary with mudflats and sandbanks. Parts of the estuary are very important sites for wildlife, such as seals, and migratory birds. Some areas are Sites

of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

Coastal Erosion and Management: Holderness


  • North East of the UK, Flamborough Head to Spurn Point

  • Towns such as Bridlington and Mappleton are located on the coast.

Features and landforms

  • Flamborough Head is a headland made from resistant chalk. The chalk is much harder to erode than the soft boulder clay at Bridlington. The North Sea storms attack the coastline here.

  • The cliffs at Flamborough Head is full of caves. Some have been cut through to arches. Small stacks have now been left with names such as King and Queen.

  • The prevailing wind and swell is from the North East which moves sediment southwards by longshore drift. This creates landforms such as Spurn Point – a spit.

  • Land use is mainly farming but coastal roads run along the edge of the cliffs in some places. There are also several settlements (e.g. Mappleton).

  • There is a nature reserve and RSPB at Flamborough Head. There is also a hotel and tourist camp here.


  • The Holderness coast is experiencing rapid rates of erosion (2m per year on average).

  • Many towns, villages, roads and even a gas works is at risk of falling into the sea.

  • Mappleton and Withernsea have both applied and built sea defences to reduce erosion. There is a gas station at Easington which will also fall into the sea if the land is not defended.

  • Large amounts of farmland have been lost. Road links may be cut if areas are not defended.

  • The narrow strip of land that connects the life boat station on Spurn Point to mainland is eroding and is often flooded (and has been completely destroyed.

  • Families have had to abandon living in the community on Spurn Point.

Management of coastline

  • Coastal defence options – hard and soft engineering to defend the coastline and reduce erosion E.g. Mappleton and Withernsea

  • Withersea replaced its old straight wall with a recurved sea wall costing £6.3 million (£5000 per meter). The wall protects Withernsea and has prevented valuable local property falling into the sea. It employs many people in the tourism industry.

  • Beach nourishment has added sediment to the beach at Hornsea.

  • £2million has been spent at Mappleton to protect the village with 100 residents. 2 rock groynes built in 1991 were built to trap beach material up the beach which would protect the base of the cliffs. They work by trapping sediment being moved by longshore drift. It will also help to reduce the impact on the sea wall there.

  • Some of the farmland is left with a ‘Do nothing’ approach. This is used when the land value is lower or the cost of defending outweighs the benefits. For example at Spurn Point the community that lived at Spurn Point have been evacuated and moved elsewhere as this was a cheaper option for the council.


Care is needed as what is done on one part of the coast may affect another. E.g. defences at Mappleton may reduce longshore drift but could increase erosion at Easington or Spurn Point further along the coastline.

Coastal Erosion and Management: Norfolk


  • East of England, coastline to the North Sea

  • Towns such as Sheringham, Cromer and Happisburgh are located on the coast.

Features and landforms

  • The Norfolk coastline is made of very soft rock. Much of it is made sand on top and from clay below.

  • Cromer, the largest of the towns in Norfolk is located on a headland. I

  • Villages such as Happisburgh, Overstrand and Mundesley are located on soft cliffs.

  • There is a spit on the north Norfolk coastline called Blakeney Point. It was formed through longshore drift.


  • The land on the Norfolk coastline is eroding at at least 1m every year.

  • Rain soaks into the very soft rock and weakens it (weathering). Meanwhile the sea erodes the cliffs from below.

  • The clay slides out of the bottom of the cliff and the sand on top collapses.

  • Sea defences were built in Happisburgh in the late 1950s. They broke several times and the local council repaired them. Now they are in bad shape. The money for new defences has to come from the government and with a population of just 850 people the government have said no.

  • Houses along the Happisburgh coastline, on beach road have either been knocked down in preparation or have already fallen into the sea.

  • Changes in government policy now limit funding for coastal protection, but there is no compensation for any losses. The people of Beach Road, Happisburgh have received no compensation for the loss of their house.

Management of coastline

  • Wooden revetments were put along the coastline at Happisburgh but were destroyed in a storm and not replaced.

  • Bacton North Sea Gas terminal supplies the local area and country with a gas supply and is therefore being protected.

  • Cromer has a population of 7750 people and brings in a lot of money for the economy through tourism. It therefore has a strong sea wall and gryones in place which are being maintain. It has economic value.

  • Groynes were put along the coastline at Happisburgh to stop sediment being carried away in long shore drift but they can’t prevent erosion.

  • Some emergency rock armour/ rip rap was put down to gain time. It was paid for by the council and donations but this is not enough and the sea has now eaten away at the coastline behind them.

  • The Environment Agency are also involved in the decision on which areas to protect.

  • Coastal management is expensive. It costs around £1 million per kilometre. It needs to be decided of this is economically worth it.


  • Managed realignment is taking place at Happisburgh. This is where the land is being left to erode into the sea until a natural equilibrium is reached. The land will then act as a natural sea defence as salt marshes will have developed.

  • If the coastline is protected this will have a knock on effect on the Norfolk Broads. The Norfolk Broads is a unique fresh water environment. The Broads currently relies on sediment further along the coastline being transported to the area. Sea defences at Happisburgh will slow movement of sediment and cause the beaches protecting the Broads to disappear and flood the land.

Theme 2:

People and Settlement

Population growth, control and implications:

China’s One Child Policy
Location: East Asia/ North of India

Problems (What problems did China face?)

  • China had massive population growth (a population explosion). In 1979 the population of China was 1 billion. It was estimated that by 2025 the population would be 1.8 billion.

  • Worry over the amount of resources that would be needed to support such a large population (e.g. food, homes, fuel etc).

  • In rural China traditionally couples had large numbers of children to help on farmland and look after them in old age.

Solutions (What did they try to do?)

  • The government introduced The One Child Policy. It hoped to get the population of 1.2 billion by 2025.

  • Each couple was allowed one child. You still had to ask permission from your local authority and must be married.

  • Fines were introduced. In worse case scenarios forced abortions and sterilisations took place. Incentives included pensions, health care and priority housing.

The consequences

  • Traditionally boys were more highly valued than girls. Couples aborted or abandoned female babies so they could try again for a boy. Girls who survived often had to grow up as orphans.

  • There is an uneven gender balance (there are now more boys than girls). This means not all the males will find a Chinese bride.

  • Girls traditionally looked after the elderly. Less girls plus more girls going to work means the elderly are sometimes neglected.

International Migration: Poland to the UK

Why is the migration occurring?

  • Poland joined EU in 2004, you can freely live and work in all countries in the EU

  • People are moving from Poland to UK in search of employment and a better standard of living. The average annual income in Poland is £4,000 a year. In the UK it is £18,000.

  • Poland has the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

  • From 2004 – 2007 430,000 Polish migrants arrived in the UK to work.

  • 1,500 migrants arrive in UK every day. Many arrive in the capital (London) first, and find work as builders, maids, plumbers and cleaners.

In the UK

In Poland


Many of the jobs filled are those that UK citizens do not want E.g. in the building industry.

Economic growth as migrants spend money in shops and on services. (Polish migrants contributed £1.9 billion to the government in tax and national insurance in 2007).

Remittances – money sent back to Poland from wages earned in UK.

Returning Polish bring back new skills with them.

Unemployment numbers are reduced.

Allies created between countries.

Less pollution due to lowered population


Increased strains on health and education services.

Pressures on housing sector, high rents as housing is in short supply.

Pressure on A+E services as few migrants register with a GP

Many workers demand training – especially in English

Contributions to pollution and carbon emissions in the UK

Ageing population as young profession working age move to UK leaving shortfall in pension contributions.

Holes left in the labour market as people migrate to UK.

Brain drain – high skilled workers move for higher paid jobs (Doctors are paid 4x as much in UK than Poland)

Regional migration: Maharashtra State to Mumbai

  • South Asia, North west India (Main city is Mumbai)

  • Mahad Taluka is a small village south of Mumbai in the Maharashtra State

  • People are leaving the rural area of Mahad Taluka in the Maharashtra State to live in Mumbai.

Why are people moving?

Push Factors (reasons to leave the Maharashtra State):

  • Most people work as subsistence farmers

  • High amount of poverty – 50% of people live below the poverty line

  • Risk of drought/flooding/disease means life is difficult. If crops fail then there is extreme risk of famine

  • Lack of basic amenities like water and electricity

  • Poor education and job opportunities

Pull Factors (reason to move to Mumbai):

  • They hope to find a well paid job where they can learn new skills.

  • The want a better life for their families. They also want to earn money to send back to family members still in Mahad Taluka.

Problems caused:

In Mumbai

  • Mumbai has grown at an average rate of 4% per year

  • Not enough housing and other facilities like schools, doctors…

  • People build own houses out of whatever they can find on any available patch of land…Appearance of shanty towns/slums - Lack of basic amenities e.g. electricity, clean water, sanitation

In Maharashtra State:

  • Mainly young men and women leaving. This leaves the old and very young to deal with tending to crops, collecting water and fuel. Poverty therefore worsens.


  1. Investment in rural areas to prevent people from leaving in the first place E.g. improving housing and creating better job opportunities for young people.

  2. Demolish the slum areas in Mumbai so people have to relocate away from the area and it can be improved for a different land use.

  3. Create more jobs in the city of Mumbai so people can find more work.

  4. Improve living conditions in the slums – greater water access, sewage system, better health care and education so make the quality of life better.

Regeneration in Stratford, London.
Why was the regeneration needed?

  • The London borough of Newham is the second poorest borough in London.

  • There is poor housing; high crime rates, poor health care and the residents have few qualifications.

  • 41% of people that live in East London being under 24years old and many are one parent families.

  • Much of the land is also brownfield sites, with buildings being full of toxic waste. Derelict buildings are also ugly and dangerous.

What has been regenerated?

  • The aim is to build a 500 acre site Olympic Park, with a stadium, velodrome, aquatic centre and athlete’s village. The athlete’s village will be turned into affordable houses after the games have finished.

  • A new International Station is being built. It will host the Eurostar connections. This will mean Stratford is connected to global cities Paris and Brussels.

  • A new shopping centre- Westfield Shopping Centre. It is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe. It will create 7,000 new jobs.

What are the impacts of the regeneration?




£50,000 of Olympic fund is being put into new football pitches in Newham.

To make way for the Olympic park, the high rise social housing is being demolished.
Residents are being given £8,500 compensation towards relocation costs. It is felt by many locals that a community spirit no longer exists here.


The International Station will attract foreign investment into the area.

Over 1,000 businesses have won contracts from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

The extension of the Jubilee Line on the Underground give Stratford much better connections to the rest of London and up into Essex.

250 businesses will need to be demolished to make way for the Olympic park. All businesses have been given compensation towards relocation costs but many are not happy with this.


Pylons carry the electricity are being put underground.

Any recyclable waste material currently on derelict land is reused and all other waste is being sent to fill in land holes.

Several hundred new trees have been planted in preparation for the games.

Contaminated soil (from heavy metals and industrial waste) has taken away from the site and replaced with clean soil.

It is thought many old trees and vegetation will be trampled on during the games.
On the busiest days 800,000 people will travel through Stratford causing congestion and crowding.

Change in shopping provisions: Hoddesdon town centre

  • Hoddesdon is located on the A10 in Hertfordshire, Southeast England.

  • It is 8 miles north of the M25 motorway and 17 miles north of central London.

  • Hoddesdon High Street has many shops, including fast food outlets, pubs, estate agents, charity shops, banks, travel agents, a bookshop and a library.

How have the service provisions changed?

  • In 2001 a Sainsburys superstore was opened up on the main road through Hoddesdon. This attracted a large number of new people to the town.

  • UBS Triton Properties Fund bought the shopping precinct ‘Tower Centre’ for £7.9 million in 2005. They have since splashed out £5.5 million redeveloping the site. The have tried to attracted Nation Wide anchor stores in the precinct such as Debenham and Wilkinson but this has proved unsuccessful.

  • There are now many empty units in the town centre with the loss of many independent stores.

Why have these changes occurred?

  • The Watergardens development in Harlow was opened in 2004. It has a wide variety of shops attracting many people away from shopping Hoddesdon.

  • Brookfield Farm Centre, in Cheshunt, contains a large Tesco and Marks and Spencers. There is also a large Argos, Boots and Next and New Look. Brookfield farm has attracted shoppers away from Hoddesdon.

  • Brookfield Farm and Harlow have led many nationwide stores to feel it not necessary to move to the Hoddesdon.

Change in shopping provisions: Bluewater Shopping Centre

  • Bluewater was opened in 1999

  • It is built on a former chalk quarry close to the M25, M20 and A2.

  • It is also located near Ebbsfleet Channel Tunnel rail link

  • Cost £1.2 billion to build

  • The shopping centre has 3 anchor stores – John Lewis, M and S and House of Fraser. There are also 320 shops and 3 leisure villages.

How have the service provisions changed?

  • Built on a former chalk quarry. The shopping centre attracts shoppers from the South East of England who previously would have shopped at Lakeside and in central London.

  • 10 million people live within an hour’s drive so people shop here rather than in other local shopping facilities.

  • 1.5 million live within a 20 minute drive

Impacts of the shopping centre

  • Shoppers spend £5.5 billion at Bluewater contributing this money to the economy

  • Created 5000 new jobs for local people

  • High impact on local high streets – Bromley, Gravesend and Dartford.

  • Over 1 million trees have been planted improving the environment of the Quarry.

  • There are strains on approach roads during busy seasons

  • Local people complain of increased noise and congestion.

Why have these changes occurred?

  • Research indicated local shoppers wanted somewhere ‘upmarket’. More so than Lakeside. There are no supermarkets or convenience stores in Bluewater giving customers the top end they wanted.

  • Population is growing in the SE of England therefore creating higher demand for shops.

  • The area along the north Kent coast has been declining with the closure of traditional industries and dockyards. The shopping centre reduced the high unemployment rate and aimed to attract more businesses to the area.

Theme 3:

Natural Hazards

Volcanic Eruption in a LEDC: Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

When? 13th November 1985.

Where? Nevado del Ruiz is in a mountain range of the Andes. It is the highest Colombian volcano.

What happened?

  • Lava erupted from the crater for the first time. The explosion was accompanied by heavy rainfall.

  • Approximately 20 million cubic meters of hot ash and rocks were thrown into the air across the snow-covered glaciers. These materials were transported by pyroclastic flow and fast –moving hot clouds of gas and ash.

  • The melting snow and ice created large volumes of water to sweep down the canyons.

  • The eruption cost Columbia US$7.7 billion (20% of countries GDP at the time).

Who was affected?

  • 23,000 people were killed.

  • 5000 homes were destroyed when they were swept away by mud and ash.

  • 5000 people were injured.

Why did it happen?

The volcano was produced by the subduction of the oceanic Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate. It is a destructive plate boundary.

Planning, Preparation and Response:

  • The Red Cross ordered an evacuation of the town.

  • Roads were blocked and rescue workers found it difficult to rescue survivors from the deep mud.

Volcanic Eruption in a MEDC: Mount Etna, Italy

When? Mount Etna erupted throughout November 2002.

Where? Mount Etna is located in the Italian island, Sicily.

What happened?

  • Magma was thrown 100m into the air.

  • The lava ran down the mountain side.

  • Ash fell continuously onto the city of Catonia and drifted as far south as Libya.

  • 1000 people had to leave their homes and many schools were shut down.

  • The airport in Catonia was closed for 4 days because the ash covered the runway and clogged aeroplane engines.

  • The skiing season was disrupted with three lifts being damaged and a restaurant engulfed in ash.

  • Hundreds of acres of forest on the slopes of the volcano were destroyed.

Who was affected?

  • The earthquake damaged more than 100 homes in Santa Venerina.

  • 300 businesses affected by the eruption.

  • Businesses affected by disruption to tourist season – restaurant owner etc.

Why did it happen?

  • A series of earthquakes measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale accompanied many explosions.

  • The African plate, Eurasian Plate and Ionian Micro plate all meet converge into each other to create Mt Etna.

Planning, Preparation and Response:

    • Holiday homes were taken over by local authorities to house the homeless people.

    • The town of Linguaglossa was evacuated before the eruption because of the lava flows.

    • The army cracked the tarmac in an attempt to divert the lava away from populated areas.

    • A ship equipped with a medical clinic was positioned off Catania.

    • The Government gave tax breaks to villagers to help them get through the crisis.

    • More than $8m (£5.6 million) was given by the Italian government for immediate financial assistance.

Earthquake in a LEDC: Sichuan, China 2008

When? Monday 12th May 2008
Where? Epicentre was in Sichuan, China. Impacts of the earthquake were felt 100s of miles away in Beijing and Thailand.

Environmental Impacts

830 water tanks collapsed

1300 water treatment works destroyed – impact on people, vegetation and wildlife.

2 chemical factories were destroyed spilling 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia.

Coal Mines badly damaged - threatens fuel supplies.

Economic Impacts (money and jobs)

Lose of agricultural land – irrigation systems for 100,000 hectares of paddy fields destroyed

>50,000 greenhouses destroyed

7.3million meter squared of livestock barns collapsed.

Social Impacts (people)

45 million people affected (69,000 people dead, 375,000 injured, 17,000 missing, 15 million people relocated, 5 million homes destroyed).

15 million buildings destroyed (places of work, 7000 schools, hospitals etc)

Who was affected?

  • Farmers – loss of agricultural land

  • People not able to go to work and school due to damage buildings, roads, railways.

  • Business people – loss of offices, services (e.g. shops) causes a large impact on peoples income.

Why did it happen?

  • The earthquake measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale.

  • The plates involved were the Eurasian and the Pacific plate.

  • The deaths of the many children in schools was blamed on poorly built structures.

  • Many homes were built of mud and so collapsed very easily.

Planning, Preparation and Response:

  • The government allocated 27 million Yuan (£2 million) from its emergency relief fund for the disaster.

Earthquake in MEDC: Italy 2009

  • The main shock occurred on 6 April 2009.


  • The earthquake’s epicentre was near L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo. It is about 90km north-east of Rome.

What happened?

  • Even some buildings thought to be earthquake proof collapsed. The local hospital’s new wing was thought to be earthquake proof but one of the wall’s collapsed and it had to close.

  • The earthquake caused damage to between 3,000 and 11,000 buildings. Around 65,000 people were made homeless.

  • Many of the buildings could not be earthquake proof because they are historical and listed.

Who was affected?

  • 300 people are known to have died and approximately 1,500 people were injured.

  • Around 40,000 people were made homeless


  • The earthqauke was caused by the African plate colliding with the Eurasian plate

  • It was rated 5.8 on the Richter scale.

Planning, Preparation and Response:

  • Aid was also offered by various organizations, companies, sport clubs and celebrities including ACF Fiorentina, Madonna, and Fiat.

  • Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi refused foreign aid for the emergency, saying that Italians were "proud people" and had sufficient resources to deal with the crisis.

  • People were prepared by having a basic emergency tool kit to hand. It should include simple tools and supplies like gloves, shovels, picks, sledgehammers, axes, etc. 

  • All tax billing for all Abruzzo residents has been suspended by the government, as well as mortgage payments.

  • 10,000 people were housed in hotels on the coast.

Earthquake in MEDC: Japan 2011
When? Friday 11th March 2011
Where? The earthquake occurred 130km from the coastline and 32km below sea level
What happened?

  • The earthquake measured 9.0 on the Richter scale

  • Primary effects include the destruction of thousands of homes and the flooding of large areas of land used for farming and industry

  • The biggest secondary impact of the earthquake was the tsunami it caused. It swept away thousands of homes and entire villages on the east coast of the country.

  • The earthquake caused damage to a Nuclear Power Plant in Fukishma on the east coast of Japan. Many people were left without an electricity supply and there is great concern over the radioactive waste escaping from the damaged reactors.

  • Power lines and gas and water services were badly affected.

  • The earthquake and tsunami ruptured underground cables and pipes. This also led to many fires.

  • Railway lines and airport runways were covered in mud and boats were washed ashore.

  • A dam burst its banks sweeping away many homes. A nuclear plant was affected, leaking radiation 4,000 times higher than normal. This could have long term effects for the people living nearby.

  • The total cost of repair is expected to be around £185 billion.


  • Over 27,000 people died or were missing from both the earthquake and consequent tsunami

  • Hundreds of businesses have been affected. There has also been an impact on the global economy as so many international companies rely on trade with Japan.

  • 500,000 people were left homeless and living in shelters.


  • The Pacific plate sanks below the Eurasion Plate at a subduction zone.

Prediction, preparation and response:

  • Billions of US dollars were pumped into the Japanese economy but their government to try to prevent a melt down in trade and the stock exchange.

  • The Red cross arranged 230 teams to help. The UK and many other countries sent people to help.

  • Shelters were set up in schools and sports halls for people displaced around the nuclear plant and those made homeless. Water was disputed to those who needed it.

  • The Japanese meteorological agency sent an earthquake and tsunami warning to people on TV, radio and mobile phones in the country. It meant thousands escaped.

  • Honda advertised which roads were open on its website so emergency services knew which roads to use. Social network sites created pages to find missing people. Skype provided free calls and access to the internet.

  • Japan is the most prepared country for natural disasters in the World. Children are prepared with earthquake drills from a young age and so know what to do.

  • Tsunami warnings were issued to the coastline allowing for people to prepare. A siren could be heard throughout towns and villages warning people of the tsuanmi.

Tropical Storm in MEDC: Hurricane Katrina 2005
When? 25th August 2005.
Where? East coast of the USA in the areas of Mississippi, New Orleans and Louisiana.
What happened?

  • The river flooding through New Orleans burst allowing water into the city up to 3m deep.

  • It was estimated 80% of New Orleans was under water.

  • Most of the roads in and out of the city were damaged. 2 major bridges collapsed.


  • The death toll was more than 1800 – many drowned and were not recovered from the water for days.

  • Over 10,000 were made homeless.

  • Over 3,000 people were without electricity.

Why did it happen?

  • The hurricane began as a very low pressure weather system but strengthened as it moved towards the Florida coast.

  • Flooding was made worst by the heavy rain. The levees on the river in New Orleans were breached.

Prediction, preparation and response:

  • Many scientists are constantly monitoring the risk of hazards across the country.

  • On 28th August 1.2 million people were issues with evacuation orders.

  • 57 emergency shelters were established in coastal areas.

  • The Louisiana Superdome was set up for people who could not leave the area.

  • There were not enough buses and coaches to evacuate all of the vulnerable people.

  • There was a shortage of food and no access to a clean water supply for survivors, which raised problems of contaminated water and health risks.

Tropical Storm in LEDC: Cyclone Nargis 2008

When? 29th April 2008

Cyclone Nargis hit the west coast of Myanmar/ Burma.

Myanmar is a LEDC with a population of 55 million. It is one of the poorest countries in South-east Asia. The ruling military government have a desire to be isolated from the rest of the World.
What happened?

  • 83% of the mangrove swamps were destroyed. The mangroves served as a natural barrier to stop storm surges. Their root systems slow water flow and absorb wave energy.

  • 95% of buildings were destroyed with all buildings suffering damage including roofs being ripped off.

  • Sewage systems were overwhelmed, causing leakage which contaminated rice fields and caused disease.

  • Electricity lines were destroyed, roads were swept away and dirty water encourages vast numbers of mosquitoes to breed.


  • 1.5 million people were severely affected.

  • The death toll was over 125,000 people. Many people drowned from the rising sea levels.

  • Millions of people were made homeless.

  • Due to the flooding many farmers fields were destroyed, families were devastated and development was put back a few years.

Why did it happen?

  • In later April an area of low pressure formed in the Bay of Bengal.

  • By 2nd May the storm winds had reached speeds of over 217km bringing torrential rain.

Prediction, preparation and response

  • The American Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii monitored the storm as it got worse and moved towards land.

  • Some of the naturally protective mangrove swamps had been converted into money making shrimp farms, tourist resorts and for housing. This led to more areas being damaged by the water because the mangroves had been cut down.

  • It is believed the government did not do as much as the rest of the World thought it could.

  • Foreign aid workers were either no allowed in to help or were restricted for where they could go.

  • More than one week after the storm first hit only 1 in 10 people affected had received some sort of aid.

  • The army harassed volunteers and stopped journalists from covering the disaster on the TV.

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