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Monday, October 29, 2018

MEANING & TYPES SECURITY THREAT I: NATURAL THREATS

MEANING & TYPES SECURITY THREAT I: NATURAL THREATS

Meaning of Security Threat Waever (1995) associates the concept of security threat to security problems that undermine the security of any nation or community, and relates it to various “developments that threaten the sovereignty or independence of a state in a particularly rapid or dramatic fashion, and deprive it of the capacity to manage by itself. This, in turn, undercuts the political order. Such a threat must therefore be met with the mobilization of the maximum effort” (Waever, 1995: 54). Similarly, security threat can be described as the capacity of any human or non-human element to destroy the vital interests of others considered as targets. Security threat also means:
......a party with the intent and capability to exploit a vulnerability in an asset. This could be a malicious hacker or a disgruntled employee :/ /proxy.11a.nu/2006 /02/ 11/definition-of-risk-vulnerability-and-threat).
.......an explicit or implicit message from a person to another that the first will cause something bad to happen to the other, often except when certain demands are met. Often a weapon is used. Examples are a robbery, kidnapping, hijacking, extortion, blackmail (://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Threat). ........anything that threatens the residents of a community or the things they value (Gordon, 2000). ..........are persons, things, events, or ideas, which pose accidentally or deliberately some degree or danger to an asset. (US National Institute of Standards and Technology cited in Kuban & MacKenzie-Carey, 2001).
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Dissecting the foregoing definitions of the term security threat, you will conclude that security threat covers all aspects of any malicious intention or action or occurrence geared towards making a party vulnerable and exposed to security risk. Security threat can simply be divided into two, namely natural and manmade threats. The former are usually generated by nature while the latter involve cruel attacks arising from human actions and behaviour. The manmade threats involve malicious activities of man, which may include armed robbery, assassination, computer intrusion, information hacking and corruption, violent behaviour, ethnocentrism, religious bigotry, terrorism, to mention a few. Meanwhile, our focus in this unit, apart from explaining the meaning of security threat, is to explain the major natural threats to security. As a matter of fact, there are several forms of natural threats to security and in this segment we shall be discussing some of these threats. Natural threats can be divided into two, namely minor and major. Examples of these major natural threats include hurricane (cyclone), earthquake, drought and flood. On the other hand, those natural threats or hazards considered to be minor may include cold wave, storm, mudslide, thunderstorms, to mention a few. However, we shall be focussing on the major natural threats or hazards, and you are advised to engage in further reading or independent study, and make sure you source for the meaning of the various minor natural threats or hazards. 3.2 Types of Natural Security Threat A natural disaster is the consequence of a natural hazard. If there are no measures put in place towards hazard mitigation, there is likelihood for such hazard to result in disaster. Thus, disaster involves massive loss of lives and/or property to hazardous situation or attack. Example of natural hazards may include earthquake, flood, volcanic eruption, landslide, to mention a few. We shall begin to discuss them one after the other.
3.2.1. Earthquakes Mythologically, earthquake was believed among the Greek to be caused by Poseidon the god of earthquake. It was argued Greek mythology that whenever Poseidon was in a state of sadness, he would smack the land with a trident, causing the earth to quake. It was claimed that this god also used earthquake as a tool of fear, warning people of the damaging effect of his punishment on men and their environment(s), as a way of admonishing men not to offend him (see Sellers, 1997).
Conceptually, an Earthquake is an unexpected and hazardous vibration resulting from the sudden shake of the Earth's crust. The degree of the vibrations may differ. An earthquake can be said to have two points. The first point concerns the “.... point of origin underground”, and this is known as “focus” while the second point is usually “directly above the focus on the surface”, and it is regarded to as the “epicentre” (://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake).
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One unique character of the earthquake is that it does not constitute any danger to people or animals on its own, but its consequences such collapse of building and electric poles, electric shock, fire, to mention a few usually cause harm to people. This means that it is imperative to have safety measures in place and encourage hazard mitigation as the best practices to avoid disaster. Let us consider some other definitions of earthquake.
An earthquake (also known as a tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer, also known as a seismograph (://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth quake).
Sudden motion in Earth caused by abrupt release of slowly accumulated strain. Shaking of the Earth caused by a sudden movement of rock beneath its surface .Geocities.com/seiswash/terms_and_definitions.htm It is the rupture of geological faults that often causes earthquake but nuclear experiments, landslides, mine blasts as well as volcanic activity can also provoke the earth to quake. Some of the incidents of earthquake include the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which was the second largest earthquake in history. The attendant tsunamis occasioned by this earthquake affected several countries including Pakistan and India, leading to the death of over two hundred thousand people. There is no doubt that the effects of earthquake can be very devastating not only to man but also the general ecosystem. Some of these effects include the following:
(a) Tremulous shaking of land and ground ruptures. These are the major effects of earthquake, leading to serious damage to buildings and other rigid structures like bridges, street lights and their stands, electric poles, bill boards, among others. The amount of damage and destruction that will be occasioned by the incident of earthquake depends largely on the complex combination of the earthquake magnitude, the distance from epicentre as well as the geological and geomorphologic conditions that may magnify or lessen wave propagation (see ://www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/eqmaps/doc /contents.html). However, ground acceleration is usually used in measuring the degree of ground shaking.
(b) Fires: Another effect that can be caused by earthquake is the occurrence of fires. After the shaking, a lot of structures and building get damaged or destroyed including petroleum/gas pipelines and facilities. As earlier mentioned, the quake can also uproot electric-pole and damage power-lines, and in the process, spark from the power-line or electric-poles may come in contact with gas or petrol to generate fire. The pressure of these fires may be high and thereby be very difficult to contain them. An example of where the earthquake caused lesser threat than its fire outbreak effect was 1906
San Francisco earthquake where many people died as a result of the fires that accompanied the earthquake incident (see Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.)
(c) Soil liquefaction: One of effects of earthquake is soil liquefaction, which involves a situation whereby soil losses its firmness and transforms from solid to liquid. The situation is caused when water-saturated granular material like sand losses it strength and in the process its solidity becomes liquid, resulting in the sinking of buildings because the soil does not have strength to carry the weight of these structures any longer due to the quake of the earth such as experienced in the 1964 Alaska earthquake (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.);
(d) Other effects of earthquake may include tsunami and flood, which will be discussed later in this unit, as well as massive destruction of lives and property. Earthquake can also lead to outbreak of diseases and food insecurity resulting from the damage.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE How do you define earthquake as a natural threat to security? What are the effects of earthquake? 3.2.2. Hurricane
In the last twenty years, there has been huge amount of losses in human and material terms through incidence of hurricane, though, the problem is less visible in sub-Saharan Africa compared to Asia, Oceania, North America, among others. For instance, the destruction that emanated from Hurricane Andrew (1992) alone was “estimated at more than $25 billion in South Florida and Louisiana and undoubtedly would have been higher had the storm hit Miami directly” (://hurricanes.noaa.gov/pdf/hurricanebook.pdf). For the sake of conceptual clarity, let us at this juncture explore some of the existing definitions of hurricane. What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface (://hurricanes.noaa.gov/pdf/hurricanebook.pdf).
A hurricane is an intense, rotating oceanic weather system that possesses maximum sustained winds exceeding 119 km/hr (74 mph). It forms and intensifies over tropical oceanic regions. Hurricanes are generally smaller than storms in mid-latitudes,
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typically about 500 km (311 miles) in diameter. At the ocean’s surface, the air spirals inward in a counterclockwise direction. This cyclonic circulation becomes weaker with height, eventually turning into clockwise (anticyclonic) outflow near the top of the storm (://www.comet.ucar.edu/nsflab/web/hurricane/311.htm).
Table 1.1: Hurricane and Its other Names in Different Parts of the World
Hurricanes
North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Northeast Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico
Typhoons
Northwest Pacific Ocean Tropical cyclones
Australia and the Indian Ocean
Effects of Hurricane
Source: ://www.why-is-the-sky-blue.tv/what-is-hurricane.htm
Hurricanes emanate and build-up over oceanic regions. They usually entail sea-surface temperatures of at least 26°C (80°F) as well as “the influence of the earth’s rotation to initiate a spinning circulation (Coriolis effect)” (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.). There are four phases to the incidence of hurricane. The first phase usually involves tropical disturbance evident in the rain clouds such that moist air increases and becomes cooler. The second phase is characterised by tropical depression with thunderstorms. Here, there will be low pressure-winds with circular patterns. The third phase consists of tropical storm, which usually involves wind that travels 38 mile per hour, occasioning storm clouds and rough sea. At this stage, one does not need to be told of the impeding danger. The last phase finally welcomes the incidence of hurricane itself, featuring wind that moves at 74 miles per hour and heavy rainfall. At this stage, hurricane will get to its climax. It is important to note that hurricane is given different names in other places, and these names may include tropical cyclone and typhoons (see table 1.1):

Hurricanes have destructive effects, and these effects may include storm surges, inland flooding and tornadoes. Several lives and property have been lost resulting from inland flooding, even more than the hurricane itself. The storm corrodes beaches, destroys coastal highways and erodes house foundations. Hurricanes create destructive surface winds and storm surges. High winds bring about huge structural and environmental damage, as the storms are usually the most destructive component of a hurricane.
A storm surge actually involves a rise in the level of the sea along a coastline necessitated by the combination of a hurricane’s surface winds and physical geography of a coastline. The surface winds above the surface of the ocean drive water towards the hurricane’s eye, mounting a mound of water. The mound of water is provoked by the slope of the coastline as the hurricane comes close to land. In a situation whereby the coastline is shallow, it will be difficult for water to flow away from the mound and the mound grows. But, if the coastline is deep, then water can easily “disperse and the mound may grow slowly or disperse depending on hurricane strength” (://www.comet.ucar.edu/nsflab/web/hurricane/311.htm). The destructive level of any hurricane depends largely on the attendant wind speed and storm surge (see Table 1.2) Table 1.2: The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity
Category
Wind Speed km/hr mi/hr
Storm Surge m ft
Damage 1
119-154 74-95
1-2 4-5
Minimal
2
155-178 96-110
2-3 6-8
Moderate
3
179-210 111-130
3-4 9-12
Extensive
4
211-250 131-155
4-6 13-18
Extreme
5
>250 >155
>6 >18
Catastrophic
Adapted from ://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/00795/hurricanetypes.html SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE How do you describe hurricane? 3.2.3 Flood Flood is another type of natural threat. It usually involves submerging of land by overflowing water. Flood goes beyond having volume of water like river or lake running off its normal boundaries to cause flooding, but also involves a situation whereby the overflow is engineered by tide. Natural hazards like hurricane and earthquake have the tendency to provoke flood in the affected community. Let us quickly define flood. In doing so, we shall be considering the definition of the term as presented by various sources. Thus, flood can be described as:
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......a general or temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters or from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.).
....the rising of a body of water and its overflowing onto normally dry land (://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=flood). The phenomenon of flood is becoming increasing in Africa and elsewhere due to climate change and environmental pollution. The incident of significant variability in climate has been attracting growing attention among the world population in recent times owing to its impact on man and his/her environment. The trapping of the atmosphere with CO2 has been the major cause of climate change. Types of Flood
a) Riverine floods: These can be divided into slow kinds and fast kinds. Slow kinds usually involve water overflow generated by high rainfall or huge fall of snow melt, which goes beyond the capacity of a river's channel. The factors responsible for this kind of riverine floods may include heavy rainfall, monsoons, hurricane and tropical depression, among others. Similarly, these floods that also be caused by unexpected drainage obstruction through dumping of refuse in canals, landslide or even ice. In Nigeria, the problem is basically as a result of incessant dumping of debris in canals and building structures on water passages, obstructing water-flow. On the other hand, fast kinds are experienced as a result of "convective precipitation (intense thunderstorms) or sudden release from an upstream impoundment created behind a dam, landslide, or glacier” (://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood);
b) Estuarine Floods: They are normally caused as a combined effect of sea tidal surges necessitated by storm-force winds from either a tropical cyclone or an extra-tropical cyclone;
c) Coastal floods: These are floods generated by severe sea storms or due to a destructive hazard like hurricane or tsunami; and
d) Catastrophic floods
Effects of Floods : These kinds of floods are initiated by accidental dam breakage or earthquake or volcanic eruption, capable of creating huge destruction of lives and property.
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a) Destruction of infrastructure and other physical structures: Effects of Floods particularly the severe ones include destruction of houses, sewer systems, bridges, schools, to mention a few;
b) Casualties: The incidence of floods can result in the loss of lives and livestock. It is capable of creating epidemic in the affected communities;
c) Shortage of water: As a result of contamination of water, there may be (acute) shortage of portable water;
d) Loss of Environmental sustainability: Incidence of flood can lead to shortage of resources because of the effect that such floods may have on the development of affected communities. In the process of flooding, many farms might be destroyed, and food shortage will be imminent except there is intervention of food supply to the affected communities by government or emergency agencies and donors; and
e) Outbreak of disease(s)
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Write short note on the meaning, types and effects of flood. 3.2.4 Drought Drought is actually a normal climatic situation. It is experienced in almost all parts of the world, but it can constitute a security threat if its occurrence is significant. This is because it is supposed to be a temporary condition, which should not last for too long. Drought appears to be another hazard that can lead to disaster if its effects are not mitigated by the people or concerned communities. It is no gainsaying that it can exacerbate condition of hunger in any community due to food shortage resulting from poor agricultural yields. Meanwhile, drought goes beyond agricultural condition, and it is imperative at this juncture, to look at some of the definitions of the term, drought. : The event of flood can generate an outbreak of diseases in the affected community. For instance, there is possibility of experience water-borne diseases like cholera, where sewer systems have been destroyed by flood.
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region (://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought).
Drought is an insidious hazard of nature. Unlike many disasters which are sudden, droughts result when there is less than normal precipitation over an extended period of time, usually a season or more. The decreased water input results in a water shortage for some activity, group, or environmental sector. Drought can also occur
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when the temperature is higher than normal for a sustained period of time; this causes more water to be drawn off by evaporation. Other possible causes are delays in the start of the rainy season or timing of rains in relation to principal crop growth stages (rain at the “wrong” time). High winds and low relative humidity can make matters much worse (IFAS, 1998: 1). Bearing in mind the foregoing definitions, you may agree with me that the problem of drought becomes evident especially when man's demand for water grows at geometric progression and reduction in the volume of water supply is also experienced at geometric progression. At this point, the incident of drought can lead to disaster except adequate interventionist measures and mitigation initiatives are brought to bear. There is no doubt that the incidence of drought exists everywhere, particularly where there is high usage of water. This hazard has the potentials of undermining the economic and environmental security of any society. The problem is very evident in Africa due to lack of adequate preparedness and mitigation strategies (irrigation, crop rotation and environmental protection) to reduce the impact of the risk that drought poses to environmental sustainability and economic wellbeing of the people. Types of droughts
a) Meteorological drought: This is a form of drought effected by a long absence of normal precipitation. Here, the period is greeted with precipitation that is below average. This type of drought is the first drought that can be experienced before other forms of drought emerge. Therefore, it provides a kind of warning-signal to the affected communities of the impeding risk;
b) Agricultural droughts: These are droughts that propel poor yields in farm cultivations. They have adverse effect on crop production and can lead to food insecurity in the affected community; and
c) Hydrological droughts
Effects of droughts : These usually mount environmental security threat to people by reducing the level of water in water reserves like aquifers, lakes and reservoirs, such that the water level will be short of the statistical average. In a situation like this, the possibility of having (acute) water shortage is very high.
a) Poor agricultural yields and crop production which can lead to food insecurity, of which food insecurity is usually accompanied by starvation and hunger, which can also generate political tension, violence, and increase in crime rate among other security risks;
b) Forced migration: Droughts can also propel a situation of migration among the people of any affected community to another place in search of arable land for cultivation or greener pasture. In a situation whereby the host community cannot provide the visitors the needed opportunities to actualise their hopes,
may be due to prevailing socio-economic and political circumstances in the host community, there is tendency that the immigrants will look for alternative means to survive, some of which can constitute a greater security threat to the hosts. A good example is the migration of several Tuareg from Niger Republic to many states in northern Nigeria especially Kano due to endemic droughts being experienced in their home country.
The rapid migration of these foreigners from neighbouring countries has been said to be a major cause of increasing incidence of religious violence in the north especially Kano, Borno and Bauchi states. It was no surprise in the Akaluka religious riot in Kano, that out of several rioters arrested by security operatives in Nigeria, only one was Nigerian while others were foreigners notably from neighbouring Niger Republic (see Albert, 1999: 292). This situation shows the amount of threat that droughts can pose to the security of any nation;
c) Famine: Droughts can also generate famine due to lack of water for irrigation. Drastic reduction or absence of water as occasioned by droughts, will definitely affect farming adversely, capable of generating scarcity of food (famine);
d) Disease outbreak: Droughts can also provoke a situation of Malnutrition, dehydration and related diseases due to shortage in water supply for agriculture and human consumption; and
e) War and Violence: Resulting from the problem of environmental resource scarcity caused by droughts, there may be growing struggle among the people to compete for the available lean resources, which cannot go round. Therefore, people will live under harsh conditions adorned with the attitude of survival of the fittest, which creates violence and hostilities especially where there is sharp ethnic division with patron-client ideology. Other effects may include increase in the incidence of snakebites as experienced in drought-ridden areas in northern Nigeria and elsewhere (see ://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific /6282075.stm), desertification and erosion, social unrest and criminality, and wildfires, to mention a few.
SELF ASSESSMENT:How do you describe drought as a security threat?

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