Kashmir Earthquake Essay

On the 8th October 2005 at 9:20 Local time an earthquake occurred in Kashmir in India/Pakistan. This was a result of a collision between the Indian and the Eurasian plate. There were 80,000 deaths in Northern Pakistan and North-west India in total. This earthquake spread 1000 kilometres from the epicentre.

There were 80,000 deaths after the final count, leaving others injured and many homeless. For several days roads were blocked and traffic could not flow. In total 3.3million people were affected by this earthquake. Then adding to that there were sewage and electricity blockages.

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In the country of Pakistan there wasn’t enough money for repairs or to support the homeless. Many Jobs were lost now because company buildings had been destroyed, this meant that there was no income for many families. This then led to starvation as the families had no income. Businesses were completely crushed like the current recession.

There were many losses in families due to being crushed or starving, this then meant that people would keep to themselves and not be outgoing and support others. Many were in shock just from the wreckage and were too afraid to help. As with the rest of the wreckage many houses were destroyed and families had to live on the streets in tents or with just blankets. Even after the major foreshock there were several aftershocks making this even worse. On the Richter scale the magnitude of the earthquake was measured at 7.6, this was a major earthquake and was said to cause serious damage over larger areas. Many survivors were left feeling stressed and anxious about losing loved ones and not being able to provide for their family.

There were many roads split by the shock and as there was no money for repairs they were just left like this. Many buildings collapsed from the shocks as they weren’t properly designed. The water supply was contaminated leading to typhoid and cholera being passed around, also the electricity was completely cut off, and diseases spread. Then landslides changed the landscape and created natural dams for rivers. This also led to several floods.

In rural areas there were 700,000 deaths, and many left homeless. 28,000 pregnant women left homeless and 500,000 predicted to die in the winter by the UN. 6,000 schools were destroyed and damages, in total, cost �3.5billion. 1,000 survivors in Islamabad, all survivors were forced to stay in temporary shelter (Tents, Refugee Camps); this then led to lack of shelter.

There was then a lot of help via charities. A new organisation was set up called Kashmir Aid. UMCOR & IBC helped by giving out blankets and water. LoC then opened for medical help.

Three significant plates meet near the coast of Japan but only two brought about the Great Hanshin earthquake. The more compact Philippines Plate was disappearing beneath the lighter Eurasian plate and so pressure had been building up. Suddenly, the result of years of pressure was a release of force that shifted the Nojima fault, south of the Osaka Bay. This activity all occurred only 16 miles below the earth’s surface. The fault cut through the north side of Awaji Island, the epicentre of the earthquake, and crossed the bay directly below the city of Kobe. Kobe is 20km from Awaji Island and so seismic waves where given the opportunity to increase in speed, hence causing greater destruction. A decade of repair for the city of Kobe would be needed to amend the damages caused by the direct hit of the Great Hanshin quake.

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In Kobe the primary effect of the Hanshin quake includes the destruction of lifelines, buildings and utilities/services. A at 5:46 a.m. the earth began to shake, sand grains within Kobe’s abundant water-saturated soil began to loose contact and friction with other grains, causing liquefaction. Soil began to flow apart and the ground reacted by moving 7 inches horizontally and 4 inches vertically. Liquefaction was the beginning of the end for the city of Kobe. Japanese buildings that where built prior to enforcement of the 1981 seismic building code, could not withstand the force of the quake and the liquefaction of the ground. The result was 102,000 buildings collapsing.

The cities lifelines also suffered a great deal. All three railway links to outside cities where destroyed. Kobe’s main elevated motorway had astonishingly collapsed for over a kilometre and those using it soared of into mid-air. Yoshio Fukamoto, a bus driver who had managed to escape his bus while the front half was 6 feet suspended in space, described the situation as, “Like watching a scene from a movie.” Many roads also where elevated from the ground.

Most of the utilities and services within the city suddenly came to a halt. Water, gas and electricity ran through underground cables/pipes and so as the ground began to move rigid cables and pipes began to break. Kobe’s ever-important port also lost 120 out 150 of its quays. Within a span of 20 seconds $150 billions dollars of basic infrastructure was demolished.

The secondary effects of the Hanshin quake were an outbreak of fires within the city and a plethora of socio-economic problems. Broken gas pipes and sparking electrical cables began to ignite fires across the city. At one point 300 fires were burning in different places. Since most lifelines came to a halt, the Kobe fire department had no way of reaching the sudden outbreaks. The fires burnt down 7500 homes.

The earthquake and fires killed 5,250 people and left over 400,000 people homeless. Those that did survive the quake were freezing because there was no gas for heat. Also they were thirsty and starving due to the lack of food/water being circulated. The people of Kobe had lost more in 20 seconds than most people lose in a lifetime. Yet, they surprisingly remained quiet and stoic. The majority of people did not yell or become hysterical, but rather utter words like, “Shoganai” meaning it cannot be helped. An elderly man sitting in front of his shattered house with a flask in his hand said, “Everything is gone, what can I do except sip sake and smile?

In Conclusion I think that it is harder for a LEDC than a MEDC to overcome/survive an earthquake because with the Kobe earthquake there were less deaths and less left homeless because there was money for repairs and shelter. But in Pakistan they did not have enough money so they had to wait for aid from charities and other nations. This meant many more were left homeless with no jobs and ended up starving. Also in Japan the buildings were built properly so that they didn’t fall over in the earthquake. This was not the case in Pakistan.

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