Kobe Earthquake Case Study Gcse

Earthquake case studies

Haiti 2010 - Poor country

On 12th January, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck close to Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince
The earthquake occurred at a destructive plate margin between the Caribbean and North American Plates, along a major fault line.
The earthquakes focus was 13km underground, and the epicentre was just 25km from Port-au-Prince
Haiti has suffered a large number of serious aftershocks after the main earthquake

Primary effects
  • About 220,000 people were killed and 300,000 injured 
  • The main port was badly damaged, along with many roads that were blocked by fallen buildings and smashed vehicles
  • Eight hospitals or health centres in Port-au-Prince collapsed or were badly damaged. Many government buildings were also destroyed
  • About 100,000 houses were destroyed and 200,000 damaged in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Around 1.3 million Haitians were displaced (left homeless)

Secondary effects
  • Over 2 million Habitats were left without food and water.
  • Looting became a serious problem 
  • The destruction of many government buildings hindered the government's efforts to control Haiti, and the police force collapsed
  • The damage to the port and main roads meant that critical aid supplies for immediate help and longer-term reconstruction were prevented from arriving or being distributed effectively
  • Displaced people moved into tents and temporary shelters, and there were concerns about outbreaks of disease. By November 2010, there were outbreaks of Cholera
  • There were frequent power cuts
  • The many dead bodies in the streets, and under the rubble, created a health hazard in the heat. So many had to be buried in mass graves

Short-term responses
  • The main port and roads were badly damaged, crucial aid (such as medical supplies and food) was slow to arrive and be distributed. The airport couldn't handle the number of planes trying to fly in and unload aid
  • American engineers and diving teams were used to clear the worst debris and get the port working again, so that waiting ships could unload aid
  • The USA sent ships, helicopters, 10,000 troops, search and rescue teams and $100 million in aid
  • The UN sent troops and police and set up a Food Aid Cluster to feed 2 million people
  • Bottled water and water purification tablets were supplied to survivors
  • Field hospitals were set up and helicopters flew wounded people to nearby countries
  • The Haitian government moved 235,000 people from Port-au-Prince to less damaged cities

Long-term responses
  • Haiti is dependent on overseas aid to help it recover 
  • New homes would need to be built to a higher standard, costing billions of dollars
  • Large-scale investment would be needed to bring Haiti's road, electricity, water and telephone systems up to standard, and to rebuild the port

Sichuan, China 2008 - Poor country case study

On 12th May at 14:28pm, the pressure resulting from the Indian Plate colliding with the Eurasian Plate was released along the Longmenshan fault line that runs beneath. This led to an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale with tremors lasting 120 seconds.

Primary effects

· 69,000 people were killed
· 18,000 missing
· 374,000 were injured
· between 5 -11 million people were missing
· 80% of buildings collapsed in rural areas such as Beichuan county due to poorer
building standards
· 5 million buildings collapsed

Secondary effects

· Communication were brought to a halt  – neither land nor mobile phones worked in Wenchuan
· Roads were blocked and damaged and some landslides blocked rivers which led to flooding
· Fires were caused as gas pipes burst
· Freshwater supplies were contaminated by dead  bodies

Immediate responses

· 20 helicopters were assigned to rescue and relief effects immediately after the disaster
· Troops parachuted in or hiked to reach survivors
· Rescuing survivors trapped in collapsed buildings was a priority
· Survivors needed food, water and tents to shelter people from the spring rains. 3.3 million new tents were ordered.

Long-term responses 
· Aid  donations specifically money – over £100 million were raised by the Red Cross
· One million temporary small were built to house the homeless
· The Chinese government pledged a $10 million rebuilding funds and banks wrote off debts by survivors who did not have insurance

Based on my own research, some data could be different to what you find.. 

Case Study of the Management of a Tectonic Event in an HIC: Earthquake, 1995

Intro facts: Cause of the earthquake:

  • The earthquake was caused by the Philippines Plate being subducted under the Eurasian Plate.
  • The focus was very shallow; it was only about 15km.
  • The epicentre was very close to , around 20km away.

Intro facts: Short term impacts of the earthquake

  • Nearly 200,000 buildings were destroyed.
  • A 1km stretch of the elevated Hanshin Expressway collapsed.
  • 120 of the 150 quays in the were destroyed.
  • Electricity, gas and water supplies were disrupted.
  • Fires caused by broken pipes and ruptured electricity lines, swept the city.
  • An estimated 230,000 people were made homeless.
  • The number of deaths was put officially at 5500.
  • At lest 40,000 people suffered serious injury.

How Was The Earthquake Disaster Managed?

Before the earthquake: Prediction

  • The Japanese government established the Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee in 1892 in response to the Nobi earthquake (1891) which caused significant damage in . However, they failed to predict the Great Hanshin Earthquake.
  • Even though has one of the most advance Earthquake prediction systems, they failed to predict it. had not had a major earthquake for more than 400 years so there was less prediction equipment there than in other areas of .
  • Although people on duty could see that there were many tremors (prior to the earthquake), they did not raise the alarm. It could be that they were getting complacent because they had not received a huge earthquake for a long time.

Before the earthquake: Preparation 

-        Illusion of preparedness made people complacent-caught unaware.

-        There were still many old, traditional houses in . They had heavy tiles on the roofs to withstand typhoons; but they injured many people when the wood supporting the roof collapsed.

-        Most new buildings built had been designed to be earthquake proof; but because of liquefaction, they still toppled over. The houses were not retrofitted, resulting in many elderly people injured.  Transport infrastructure not retrofitted either.

-        They didn’t have sufficient emergency supplies. Especially water-couldn’t fight fire efficiently.

+        Schools and factories had regular earthquake drills.

After the earthquake: Response In The Short Term

·         They had to get clean, fresh water from other parts of the country.

·         The Japanese government evacuated people into temporary shelters because they still faced the dangers of fires and unstable buildings. The government was criticized for being so slow in mobilizing the army-sluggish response.

·         Bulldozers were brought in to clear fallen buildings.

·         The local fire department put out the fires.

·         Civilians helped to rescue others who were trapped.

·         Medical aid centres were set up.

After the earthquake: Response In The Medium & Long Term
  • By January 1999, 134,000 housing units had been constructed. All homes and buildings had to be built to strict regulations and they were made more earthquake resistant. (Flexible frames, steel support.)
  • Water, electricity, gas and telephone services were fully working by July 1995.
  • Within a year, 80% of the port was working but the Hanshin Expressway was still closed.
  • The railways were back in service by August 1995.
  • More instruments were installed in the area to monitor seismic activity.
  • Major transport routes were reinforced so they do not get destroyed or damaged in the event of another major earthquake.
  • Earthquake resistant shelters were constructed in local parks.
  • The city plan was more spaced out, buildings were further apart so that if one collapsed, it would not create a domino effect. Buildings were not allowed to be built on unstable land.
  • Developed more open space in the city so that people had a large area to evacuate to.
  • refused international aid for a while then finally let them in.

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