Hazards are potential risks that put human life, property environment and even animal life into danger. Even though I am currently living in United States-Pennsylvania I would like to discuss about hazards found in Saudi Arabia because that is where I have grown up and hence I feel I understand its hazards better for this discussion (International Disaster Database, 2010) Hazards can be caused by human, natural or even arise from a technological mistake. Some hazards found in Saudi Arabia include
- Oil spillage (human caused)
Saudi Arabia is an oil producing country and therefore is prone to oil spillage-both at wells and while being transported. Oil spillage can be an environmental hazard because it destroys vegetation cover destroying life. In addition it can contaminate water wells and as such posing a health risk to human life. When oil spills into ocean it destroys marine life. Saudi Arabia has faced various oil spillage disaster in the recent times, the 1993 Aramco spillage being one of the most disastrous spill.
- Terrorist attacks (human caused)
Even though Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and therefore expected to experience less terrorist attacks, it has experienced increasing terrorist attacks in the recent past. It is thought to be a close ally of United States which has been focal target of terrorists. Terrorist attacks in the past have led to loss of human life, injuries and destruction of property (Lerner, et al., 2007).
- Stampede (human caused)
This hazard is largely associated with Ramadhan and Hajji religious gatherings in the cities of Makkha and Medina. About 2 million people visit these cities for religious pilgrimage. Due to limited space, overcrowding is a common occurrence. Coupled with high temperatures people are likely to be dehydrated, exhausted and often collapse and even die. Due to overcrowding, people as well trample on each other and in previous events several people have been reported to have died because of stampede.
- Earthquakes (natural)
Due to geographical location and geological composition, Saudi Arabia has active faulty lines. These make it prone to earthquakes and especially the western side of the country. Earthquakes are devastating because they lead to loss of life and destruction of property. Destruction of infrastructure such as roads and power lines can even make the effects of the earthquake severe because this interferes with delivery of food materials that can help earthquake victims.
- Dust storms
Being a desert country dust storms are common both in rural and urban areas. These dust storm cause poor visibility and hence increasing risk of road crashes that lead to loss of life. In addition to this the suspended dust particles are a healthy risk especially to people with diseases such as tuberculosis and other chest complications.
I do concur with the strategy that hazard identification strategy is the first strategy towards management of hazards facing a community (Coppola, 2015). However I would like to note that there should be a continuous evaluation of risks identified because with time hazard environment change diminishing some hazards while bringing new ones onboard. Such evaluations inform decisions such as re-ranking of hazards and redeployment of resources towards managing them. It ensures efficiency in resource allocation and use. With proper identification, proper planning and coordination can be done right from the beginning. This increases management effectiveness because coordination becomes easier. For instance, it becomes easier to coordinate with key stakeholders in hazard management such as local government, hospitals and non-governmental organizations. With such collaboration a unified approach to disaster can be developed (International Disaster Database, 2010)
International Disaster Database (2010) Saudi Arabia profile: natural disasters. Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.
Lerner, E. B., O’Connor, R. E., Schwartz, R., Brinsfield, K., Ashkenazi, I., Degutis, L. C., Dionne, J. P., Hines, S., Hunter, S., O’Reilly, G. & Sattin, R. W. (2007) Blastrelated injuries from terrorism: an international perspective. Prehosp Emerg Care, 11, 137-53.
Coppola, D. P. (2015). Introduction to international disaster management (3rd Ed.). Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
All these different Hazards have a different way of approach to cope it and to mitigate the chaos situation.
So, it is important to plan and design different strategies for each catastrophe but a common training is needed to be given to the persons so that they can co-ordinate and overcome during such situation efficiently.
Alamri, Y. (2010). Emergency management in Saudi Arabia: Past, present, and future. University of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Drum, T. O. (2010, June 25). Was A MASSIVE Saudi Aramco Oil Spill Concealed From The Public In 1993? Retrieved January 25, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/was-a-massive-saudi-aramco-oil-spill-concealed-from-the-public-in-1993-2010-6
Damon P. Coppola, Chapter 2 – Hazards, In Introduction to International Disaster Management (Third Edition), Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 2015, Pages 40-149,
Oliver, M. (2006, January 12). Hundreds killed in hajj stampede. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jan/12/saud…