Earthquake In A MEDC Japan, 1995
What Happened? • The earthquake occurred at 5.46am on the 17th January 1995. • It measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale and lasted 20 seconds. • Kobe lies on the Nojima fault, a destructive boundary, where the Philippine plate dives below the Eurasian plate. • This plate boundary is the reason for Japan's existence but also means that there is a constant earthquake threat. • Kobe was unlucky in the sense that the focus of the earthquake was very close to the surface and the epicentre was right beside the city.
Primary Effects • included a death toll of approximately 5,500, with another 30,000 injured and 250,000 made homeless. • Over 100,000 buildings collapsed. • Infrastructure damage included a 1km stretch of elevated road, numerous railway bridges, and 120 of the city's 150 quays.
Secondary Effects • included the fact that electricity, gas, water and sewage systems were all hugely disrupted. • Emergency services found it very difficult to get into the city due to the massive destruction of the roads. • Many temporary shelters were required, as well as food and medicines. • Cold weather meant that diseases spread quickly.
Secondary Effects • A week after the earthquake fires still were burning, 2 million homes still were without power and 1 million were without water. • The fires destroyed over 7,000 more homes. • Hundreds of aftershocks, 74 strong enough for people to feel, meant people were too afraid to return to their homes for weeks after the event.
Secondary Effects • Tough new laws, building codes and emergency plans were brought in after criticism of the Japanese Government. • Work is continuing to try to predict future earthquakes, but as yet there is very little way of giving any significant warning time.