Kobe Earthquake

The Kobe Earthquake – an earthquake in an HIC (High Income Country)

Kobe is located in the south east of Japan, near a destructive plate margin. It is a megacity and has one of the largest container ports in the World.  Although further from a plate margin than most of the cities in Japan, Kobe is still found on a fault line. 

Kobe_Map

The earthquake that hit Kobe during the winter of 1995 measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. At this plate margin, the Pacific plate is being pushed under the Eurasian plate, stresses build up and when they are released the Earth shakes. This is known as an earthquake happening along a subduction zone. The focus was only 16km below the crust and this happened on the 17th Jan 1995 at 5.46am. 10 million people live in this area.

Damage in Kobe Earthquake

Effects The effects of this earthquake were catastrophic for a HIC.  Despite some buildings having been made earthquake proof during recent years many of the older buildings simply toppled over or collapsed.  A lot of the traditional wooden buildings survived the earthquake but burnt down in fires caused by broken gas and electricity lines. Other effects included; •  More than 5000 died in the quake • 300,000 were made homeless • More than 102,000 buildings were destroyed in Kobe, especially the older wooden buildings. • Estimated cost to rebuild the basics = £100 billion. • The worst affected area was in the central part of Kobe including the main docks and port area. This area is built on soft and easily moved rocks, especially the port itself which is built on reclaimed ground. Here the ground actually liquefied and acted like thick soup, allowing buildings to topple sideways. • Emergency aid for the city needed to use damaged roads but many of them were destroyed during the earthquake. • Raised motorways collapsed during the shaking.  Other roads were affected, limiting rescue attempts. • Many small roads were closed by fallen debris from buildings, or cracks and bumps caused by the ground moving. • The earthquake occurred in the morning when people were cooking breakfast, causing over 300 fires, which took over 2 days to put out.

Responses to the quake Water, electricity, gas, telephone services were fully working by July 1995 and the railways were back in service by August 1995 A year after the earthquake, 80% of the port was working but the Hanshin Expressway was still closed. By January 1999, 134,000 housing units had been constructed but some people still had to live in temporary accommodation. New laws were passed to make buildings and transport structures even more earthquake proof. More instruments were installed in the area to monitor earthquake movements. Most new buildings and roads have, in the last 20 years, been designed to be earthquake proof, schools and factories have regular earthquake drills, etc. Despite this, many older buildings still collapsed or caught fire. This led to many blocked roads and massive problems of homelessness. Electricity and water supplies were badly damaged over large areas. This meant no power for heating, lights, cooking, etc. Clean, fresh water was in short supply until April 1995. The government and city authorities were criticised for being slow to rescue people and for refusing offers of help from other countries.

Collapsed buildings in Kobe Earthquake

By 松岡明芳 ( GFDL )

Solutions ; Preparation – A lot of the buildings in Kobe and Japan made after the 1960s are earthquake proof (necessary by law) with counterweights on the roofs and cross steel frames.  Many of the damaged buildings in Kobe were built before this period and were made of wood, which caught fire. People are educated on earthquake preparation in Japan. Prediction – Japan has the world’s most comprehensive prediction programme with thousands of seismometers and monitoring stations in Japan designed to give warning.  Kobe hadn’t had an earthquake in 400years and had less prediction equipment than other areas of Japan. Aid – The Japanese rejected international offers of aid and dealt with the earthquake itself.  All of the homeless people were dealt with reasonably quickly and the city recovered thanks to government money.

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Kobe Earthquake Case Study GCSE Geography

Kobe Earthquake Case Study GCSE Geography

Subject: Geography

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Assessment and revision

Daisy’s GCSE & A-Level Resources

Last updated

25 March 2023

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kobe earthquake case study bbc bitesize

Facts about the Kobe earthquake that occured in 1995 , **including accurate statistics about the earthquake to include in exam ansers.

This document provides examples of ** long-term and short-term responses as well as the primary and secondary effects of the earthquake** (all of this information is needed for Kobe to be used as a case study at Geography GCSE).

The effects and impacts are provided in a table format, which I found useful when revising for my geography GCSE in which I achieved a grade 9 in 2022; learning my case studies in detail massively contributed to this grade.

I made this following AQA Gcse Geography specification, however the facts apply to any Kobe case study Be aware that the blurred writing on the preview is only fro selling purposes, the document will be perfectly clear

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Internet Geography

L’Aquila Earthquake

In 2009 an earthquake struck central Italy with devastating consequences.

L’Aquila Earthquake 2009

The l’aquila earthquake – background.

On 6 April 2009, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck L’Aquila in central Italy, killing 309 people. The main shock happened in the early morning hours at 3.32 am when most people were sleeping, extensively damaging the 13th-century city of L’Aquila, located only about 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Rome. The earthquake was Italy’s most devastating since the 1980 Irpinia earthquake.

L'Aquila Earthquake Map

A map showing the location of L’Aquila, Italy.

The earthquake resulted from normal faulting on the northwest-southeast-trending Paganica Fault. Several neighbouring faults are related to extensional tectonic forces associated with the opening of the Tyrrhenian Basin to the west.

There had been several thousand foreshocks and aftershocks since December 2008, more than thirty of which had a Richter magnitude greater than 3.5.

Primary Effects

The earthquake caused damage to between 3,000 and 11,000 buildings in the medieval city of L’Aquila. Many buildings also collapsed. Approximately 1,500 people were injured. Twenty of the 309 victims were children. In addition, around 40,000 people were made homeless.

The European Union estimated the total damage caused by the earthquake was US$1.1 billion.

L’Aquila’s historic buildings were severely damaged, resulting in most inhabitants abandoning their homes and the city. Fallen masonry resulted in many streets being blocked. The hospital where many of the injured were taken was damaged by a magnitude 4.8 aftershock an hour after the main earthquake.

L'Aquila Earthquake Damage

L’Aquila Earthquake Damage

Many of L’Aquila’s medieval buildings were damaged. For example, the apse of the Basilica of Saint Bernardino of Siena, L’Aquila’s largest Renaissance church, was seriously damaged, and its campanile collapsed.

However, it was L’Aquila’s modern buildings that experienced more significant damage. The earthquake-proof new wing of L’Aquila Hospital experienced extensive damage and was closed.

Approximately 40,000 people who were made homeless by the earthquake found accommodation in tented camps. In addition, 10,000 were housed in hotels on the coast.

Secondary Effects

Some effects of the earthquake occurred later and indirectly as a result of the initial earthquake itself. The secondary effects included aftershocks triggering landslides and rockfalls, causing damage to housing and transport. A landslide and mudflow were caused by a burst main water supply pipeline near the town of Paganio. The number of students at L’Aquila University has decreased since the earthquake. The lack of housing for all residents meant house prices and rents increased. Much of the city’s central business district was cordoned off due to unsafe buildings. Some ‘red zones’ still exist, which has reduced the amount of business, tourism and income.

Immediate Responses

There was a range of immediate responses . For those made homeless, hotels provided shelter for 10,000 people, and 40,000 tents were distributed. Some train carriages were used as shelters. The prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, reportedly offered some of his homes as temporary shelters.

The Italian Red Cross was searching for survivors supported by seven dog units, 36 ambulances, and a temporary hospital within an hour. In addition, the Red Cross distributed water, hot meals, tents and blankets. The British Red Cross raised £ 171,000 in support.

Mortgages and bills for Sky TV, gas and electricity were suspended. The Italian Post Office offered free mobile calls, raised donations and gave free delivery for products sold by small businesses. L’Aquila was declared a state of emergency, which sped up international aid to the area from the EU and the USA. The EU granted US$ 552.9 million from its Solidarity Fund for major disasters to begin rebuilding L’Aquila. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a UK group, did not provide aid because it considered Italy a more developed country with the resources to offer help and the help of the EU.

Long-term Responses

Long-term responses included a torch-lit procession, which took place with a Catholic mass on the anniversary of the earthquake as an act of remembrance. Residents did not have to pay taxes during 2010. Students were given free public transport discounts on educational equipment and were exempt from university fees for three years. Homes took several years to rebuild, and historical centres are expected to take approximately 15 years to rebuild. Additionally, in October 2012, six scientists and one government official were found guilty of manslaughter as they had not predicted the earthquake. They were accused of giving residents a false sense of confidence and seriously underestimating the risks. They each received six years in prison and were ordered to pay several million euros in damages. However, in November 2014, the Italian courts overturned the verdict for the six scientists.

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    Kobe is located in the south east of Japan, near a destructive plate margin. It is a megacity and has one of the largest container ports in the World. Although further from a plate margin than most of the cities in Japan, Kobe is still found on a fault line. The earthquake that hit Kobe during the winter of 1995 measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.

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  11. Kobe Earthquake Case Study GCSE Geography

    Facts about the Kobe earthquake that occured in 1995 , **including accurate statistics about the earthquake to include in exam ansers. This document provides examples of ** long-term and short-term responses as well as the primary and secondary effects of the earthquake** (all of this information is needed for Kobe to be used as a case study at Geography GCSE).

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