The effects and responses to tropical storms significantly impact people living in areas affected by tropical storms. Effects can be primary or secondary. Responses can be immediate or long-term.
Primary Effects of Tropical Storms
The primary effects of a tropical storm are the immediate impacts of strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges. These include:
- People are injured or killed by debris being blown around
- Buildings are destroyed or damaged
- Electric supplies are cut off due to power lines being destroyed
- Sewage is released due to flooding
- Water supplies become contaminated
Secondary Effects of Tropical Storms
Secondary effects are the impacts following the storm. This can include:
- People being left homeless
- A lack of clean water and sanitation – water-borne diseases can affect local people.
- Road and rail networks can be blocked by debris, making it difficult to provide support and aid for people affected.
- Unemployment is caused by businesses being damaged
- If crops are destroyed and/or livestock is killed, there can be a shortage of food
Immediate Responses to Tropical Storms
Immediate responses occur before the storm is forecast to make landfall and immediately after the event.
- people are evacuated before the storm lands
- rescue people trapped and provide medical support for injured people
- temporary shelters are set up for people made homeless by the storm
- provide water and food for people
- recover dead bodies
- digital maps are updated immediately after the storm using satellite photographs to support emergency services on the ground
- Aid provided by Governments and NGOs such as Oxfam
Long-term Responses to Tropical Storms
Long-term responses involve returning an area to the way it was before the storm and preparing for future storms.
- repair and rebuild properties
- rehouse people
- repair the transport infrastructure
- improve forecasting and early warning systems
- provide grants and aid to people to help rebuild their homes
- improve building regulations so that properties are constructed to withstand the impacts of tropical storms better
- Offer incentives such as tax breaks to encourage economic recovery