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‘Conflict has a significant geographical impact on the area(s) affected.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement? Essay

Development indicators measure different aspects of a countries development. For example, life expectancy gives an idea of how long a person is expected to live in a particular country. The higher the life expectancy, the longer a person is expected to live and therefore you can make conclusions about the countries level of development can such as the country is likely to have good medical provision and public health. However, a high value does not necessarily indicate a high level of development. For example, a low number of people per doctor actually indicates a more developed country as does a low value for birth rate and death rate.

Conflict can affect the level of development in a country in a number of ways. Firstly, conflict is likely to disrupt the distribution of food and other resources to the population. It is argued that the main cause of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia was not drought or overpopulation, but the fact that the food could not be distributed to the people due to the scale of the war which was going on at the time. Secondly, many services such as schools are devastated by conflict which can cause literacy rates to fall; an indicator which is often seen as the key to more widespread development. Also, conflict can cause an imbalance in the population structure, as men of economic age are those most likely to be involved in the fighting.

In Afghanistan, there has been dramatic reduction of development as a result of the ongoing conflict, the most recent of which has been going on since 2001. The Boer war had effects on the soldiers on both sides of the war, the indigenous people of South Africa and the families of the Boer soldiers. The Boers were constantly shelling the British and this meant that the British soldiers could not move openly during the day and had to camp in insanitary dugouts rather than in the open, which accelerated the spread of disease in the British camp. Evidentially, this is a social impact and has affected South Africa dramatically.

The effects of conflict on population in terms of migration are clear with males in particular being caught up in conflict directly and many conflicts triggering mass migrations of all sectors of the population. The impacts on health and tend to be more long term with hospital services being disrupted. There are many impacts on the environment which occur during conflict, and many of these are due to the mass migrations which are a direct result. For example, large refugee camps can become established which generate vast quantities of waste, water courses can become
contaminated and disease is easily spread.

In addition, the setting alight of oil rigs during the conflict in Iraq which as a result has led to air pollution which has had both a local and a more widespread effect on air quality. During the Vietnam War, the US used a powerful herbicide and defoliant which they codenamed ‘Agent Orange’ to strip the foliage from forested areas, meaning that soldiers were unable to hide there.

The use of the chemical exposed many people to harmful dioxins, which can cause cancer and genetic defects. Nevertheless did that mean that the war bought a positive impact on a country. For example, the Polish-German war resulted in the Polish government facing a breakdown in international trade which they were then forced to initiate a program of internal investment, which resulted in the growth of local production. Unemployment was reduced by a mass public works program proving that the war had a positive impact. Poland found new trade partners and a program of modernization of the country was accelerated. Also, the port of Gdynia enjoyed dynamic growth.

In conclusion, i agree that conflict has a significant impact on an area affected in many different ways being that economically or socially. Although, negative impacts overweigh the positive impacts, they both somewhat have a big or small impact on an area whether that being on the environment or the development of a country.

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