Where Did It Happen? The Sichuan Earthquake occurred in China on May the 12 th 2008. The epicentre was in Wenchuan county, approximately 50 miles from Chengdu, in the Sichuan Province. Also the earth quake could be felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai approximately 1000 miles away. As the Jim Mao and the Hong Kong New World Towers were both evacuated in Shanghai. The Earth quake registered at 7.9 on the Richter scale and was the 19 th deadliest earthquake of all time. This resulted in a high death toll as 69,197 people are confirmed dead, 374, 643 were injured and 17,921 are missing. After shocks were of magnitude 6 on the Richter scale and were being reported months after the original earthquake.
What Were The Immediate Effects?
The earthquake caused many immediate effects such as:
Approximately one third of the buildings in Wenchuan collapsed, resulting in many dead and injured people.
In Beichuan county, 80% of the buildings collapsed.
In the city of Shifang, the collapse of two chemical plants led to leakage of some 80 tons of liquid ammonia, with hundreds of people reported buried.
In the city of Dujiangyan, south-east of the epicentre, a whole school collapsed with 900 students buried and 50 dead.
The Sichuan Earthquake also caused the transport networks to collapse. An example of this is a cargo train, carrying 13 tanks of petrol, derailed and caught fire in Huixian County.
There was many water reservoirs and dams damaged, which resulted in major floods.
What Were The Long Term Effects? The Sichuan earthquake created many long term effects for china. One of these effects was problems with agriculture. Due to the earthquake ruining most crops and food it caused the price of pork and grain to increase steeply. This price increase was down to the decrease of grain yields more than 0.45 and pork supplies decreased by at least 5%. Also the Sichuan Earthquake had long term effects on the Chinese population as approximately 10 million people were left homeless and without a job. With many homeless and unemployed people this caused economic problems for the Chinese government.
Why Was The Earthquake So Devastating? The Sichuan Earthquake was so devastating because the epicentre was so shallow. The epicentre was approximately 11.8 miles below the surface. This caused big tremors and buildings to collapse due to how close it was to the surface. Also the devastation was so high because the people of China did not know that there was going to be an earthquake, and even if they did they would probably not be able to guess the force and destruction it would cause. The death toll was made worse because people were not prepared and couldn’t have saved themselves. Lastly, the devastation was so high because most of the buildings were not ‘earthquake proof’ due to earthquakes not occurring as often in the middle of China as they normally occur on the coast. However when earthquakes do occur in the middle of China, like the Sichuan Earthquake, they are normally very powerful and destructive.
How Did The Fact That China is An LEDC Make The Disaster Worse? China is classed as an less economically developed country and is currently placed 92 nd on the human development index. The human development index shows how developed a country is in different factors such as GDP or the standard of well being. One of the reasons that the disaster made it worse for China is the fact that the country is very rich. As a result of this it caused massive problems for the Chinese government, such as not making buildings earthquake proof which created piles and piles of rubble and also many deaths. As well as this another factor is that the people were not prepared for what was going to happen. This is because the Chinese do not have adequate facilities or technology to predict when the earthquake was going to happen and warn the Chinese people and preventing many deaths and grieving.
How Has The Earthquake Affected Economic Development in China? The Sichuan Earthquake has affected China’s economic development massively, and it doesn’t help with the fact that China is an LEDC. For starters the large scale damaged caused by Sichuan will take years to fix and also will take a lot of money to fund the rebuilding. This amount of money that the Chinese government need may have to be loaned of another country or the world bank. However other countries or the World bank charge massive amounts of interest which will end up with the country going into serious amounts of debt. Also the earthquake caused the destruction of many crops and food supplies and then the little amount of food they have left, the price will start to increase and possibly cause inflation and the worst case scenario hyperinflation. This will result in big economic problems for the Chinese Government.