Tropical Cyclones in MEDCs & LEDCs: A Comparison of Mitigation Methods


Tropical cyclones are known as hurricanes in America, typhoons in Asia-Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean. According to Kovach et al (2003:108,112), their occurrence is often restricted to regions of latitudes 5o to 25o N/S, and occur most frequently when ocean waters are at its warmest in summer (in July to October in the Northern hemisphere, and in January & February in the Southern hemisphere).

Only the effects of tropical cyclones can be mitigated per se, as a hurricane cannot be stopped once it starts. The resultant hazards, like flash floods, can be mitigated through various measures undertaken by the government and the locals. A comparison of mitigation methods in MEDCs and LEDCs will be detailed below.


Mitigation in MEDCs

More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) that are affected by tropical cyclones include USA, Japan & Australia. Having greater access to funds for research and forecasting of tropical cyclones, they are at an advantage in terms of hazard mitigation.

According to Preece (2005), the best strategy in reducing damage by tropical cyclones is to manage the hazards, since predictions are often inaccurate and tropical cyclones cannot be stopped. Monitoring is done through satellites, monitoring centres and air surveys. Drainage conduits 

Tropical Cyclones in MEDCs & LEDCs

diversion canals can help manage flash floods through diverting water flow, while seawalls and breakwaters can protect coastal areas from the full force of the impact. Galveston, Texas, built a 3.5m seawall against storm surges which previously killed 6000 in the town. However, the cost of some of these measures is prohibitive for LEDCs to adopt.

The Hawaii Statewide Hazard Mitigation Forum (2007) has also stated measures that residents of Hawaii can do to reduce hurricane damage to their homes, with educational material provided by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Educational efforts in MEDCs can also be replicated in LEDCs since they require less funding, but there are also funding issues LEDCs face in providing public education.

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