Most of the time people choose to live in places that are vulnerable to natural disasters because the housing may be a bit cheaper or they just enjoy the area. Sometimes when people love a place so much they may not care whether or not it is naturally prone to disasters. Life is short and people want to live in a place that will satisfy their needs and goals. Most people live by beaches (which is prone is tsunamis) because it is a beautiful place to live in and be happy in. In the end, even if a natural disaster does hit; the person can rejoice happy memories that they experienced during their lives in that area or what they call their “home”. They can always remember the beauty of their surroundings as a memorable moment in their lives to thrive and cherish on.
An interesting example of what jchang14 wrote about, in the way of “cheaper housing” is people who live in floodplains. Very many people live in a “100-year floodplain”, assuming it’s unlikely anything will happen to them. But surprise! A 100-year flood is just a statistical estimate, perhaps based on poor data. As the USGS article below points out, even if the estimate is correct, there’s still a 1-in-2 chance that someone living in one their whole life will be flooded.
But it gets worse than that. Developers urge government agencies to build in floodplains, but as the SFGate article comments, “critics including state officials, environmentalist and academics say that urbanizing such floodplains is unwise, even madness, particularly after Hurrican Katrina broke through federally certified levees in New Orleans.”
I talked to a woman who had moved to Sacramento, because it was affordable. She bought a house in a floodplain, behind a levee. Nobody made it clear to her, or many of her neighbors, that her house in Natomas was in a floodplain. A few years ago, she was financially devastated, when there was a flood.
And just to add a twist to the whole equation, FEMA, using better data, obviously, sometimes changes the floodplain maps. Imagine your surprise owning a newly-designated at-risk home! (Your house insurance is likely to go up, just for starters. Then there’s the issue of ever being able to sell the house again, as with the woman I talked with.)
Floodplain maps are freely available in the United States. Use ’em before you buy, and don’t imagine you are immune to a 100-year flood. Or a levee breaking.
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