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Discuss The Statement: The Extent To Which Earthquakes Present A Hazard Depends On Where They Are Experienced

1481 words - 6 pages

Geography 40 mark EQ question

Discuss the statement: The extent to which earthquakes present a hazard depends on where they are experienced.
(40 marks)

A Hazard is best defined as a situation that’s ‘a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person or persons’. An earthquake is a tectonic event which can be a huge hazard to people- particularly effecting areas of the earth around convergent, divergent and transform plate boundaries: in both MEDC’s and LEDC’s with equally force. Hazards earthquakes cause can be divided into two sub-categories: primary and secondary effects. Primary effects are the problems that are of direct result of the seismic waves, including ...view middle of the document...

For me this shows that (with a similar amount of population density in both case studies) India was far less prepared. Yet it’s not the sheer force of the EQ that kills people does it? It was the poor quality of buildings collapsing in the initial stages in India that caused such a large divide. Poor buildings mean far more buildings crushing and injuring people: higher death and injury rates.
Looking at other LEDC cases with the same poor infrastructure we can see the same patterns- more buildings destroyed resulting in higher death and injury as well as a hugely effected environment. In 2010 a 7.0 earthquake hit the Caribbean island of Haiti. Similarly with India, Haiti is an LEDC meaning building costs are at bare minimum. So in an attempt to save money many buildings in Haiti lacked the steel reinforcements in buildings- which even miles away from the epicenter- meant buildings collapsed into a ‘pancake’. In Gujarat similar effects where seen on poorly made buildings. However in more developed MEDC’s like Japan and America we can see they have learned from past lessons- after the Kobe and Northridge earthquakes respectively in the mid 90’s– we can see new government legislations put in place to protect and reduce further destruction. In 2005 the USA government issued legislation for all new hospitals to be made with EQ proof wards. Since 2006 all buildings and homes in Japan MUST have regular checkups to check structural integrity. This was reinforced as an effective program when the huge 9.1 EQ hit in 2001: significantly it was predicted that less than 3 people may have been killed. Proving then the building quality and regular checks saves life’s and reduces both the environmental destruction and social effects in death and injury. There is nothing of the kind in LEDC’s which is why these primary effects are worsened.

Secondary effects too can provide a huge hazard to people and the government. An important secondary effect to consider is of the economic cost. Economically the infrastructure in a MEDC is more costly to repair. Kobe 95 was predicted as the most costly earthquake in history (ignoring tsunami of 2011) with a predicted $150 billion worth of damage on basic infrastructure alone. Comparatively an earthquake (despite higher magnitude) in LEDC Gujarat $3-5 billon of basic damaged caused. This means that the country does not need to pay as much to return the area to working order- businesses can return to business and the long term economic effects are reduced. Whereas in MEDC’s the huge cost often subsidized by the government themselves can have long term effects on the area economically and loss of jobs means social effects on people such as a poor standard of living. It took so long to repair infrastructure in Kobe in 2001 over 1000 people were still in temporary homes. Yet in Gujarat people could return to businesses because of the lack of development in the first place before the EQ. Interestingly many people believe the...

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