How do the effects and responses of earthquakes differ in countries of different economic status?
On the 12th may 2008 Sichuan in China suffered from an earthquake, although China is an NIC Sichuan is one of the poorest states and so the responses and effects of the earthquake will be very different to those in an MEDC such as the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Perhaps the most contrasting effect of the earthquake is the death rate; 6 500 in Kobe and 70 000 in Sichuan. Sichuan is such a poor area and many people in there live in poverty, the structure of the buildings is very poor and due to this and the high population density was one of the reasons for the high death rate. In Sichuan only 5 million buildings collapsed leaving 4.8 million people homeless whereas in Kobe only 200 000 buildings collapsed. One of the main types of buildings that collapsed was schools. This was especially detrimental because the earthquake occurred ...view middle of the document...
Partially because of the different effects and partially because of the different attitudes of Japan and China the responses to the earthquake were very different. Sichuan focused more on the social responses. Although rock and mudslides meant that rescuers couldn’t get there immediately, 20 helicopters and thousands of troops were sent to rescue trapped survivors and to get medical attention to those who needed it most. Similarly in Kobe local rescue services were deployed to do the same thing. The main difference between the responses was that China asked for foreign aid to help in the aftermath of the earthquake. Russia, Japan and Korea all donated medicine, food and clean water to the affected area. The Red Cross also helped in providing more food and medicine. The Chinese government pledged £10 000 000 to help Sichuan recover from the earthquake and banks wrote off the debt of those who had no insurance to protect them from earthquakes. Japan refused any international help, not wanting to be in debt to any other countries. Owing to the fact that it was winter and that they would not accept help, emergency supplies were scarce they consequentially did not have enough supplies. They also made provisions for the future, now buildings have to meet a structural standard, transport too has also been better prepared in case of more earthquakes.
The reasons why the effects of the earthquakes were so different were because of the differences in the cities. Kobe is very built up, which in itself caused most of its problems, the tall buildings fell causing a domino effect, the area is also densely populated which contributed to the death rate. Though Sichuan also suffered from a high number of buildings collapsed this was because of a different reason; due to the area being so poor they had not put adequate funding towards structural security. China then proceeded to focus on more social responses helping its citizens mainly in the short term. On the other hand by investing in better quality constructions and by avoiding being in debt to other countries, Japan has better prepared Kobe, and its citizens for future earthquakes.