MEDC Case Study : Kobe Earthquake in JapanEvidence that it is a MEDC….. Where did it happen?~ Kobe is now the largest seaport in Japan Kobe is located 32 kilometers west of Osaka on the Japanese island of Honshu. The epicenter was on Awaji Island in Osaka~ It was a port for foreign ships when Japan was Bay. The earthquake’s focus was very shallow, at a depth of 15-opened to the world after 1853 20 km. This results in extremely violent shaking of ground.~ To avoid congestion in the city, the top of RokkoMountains were excavated and used to make twoartificial islands for port terminals, residential areasand business.~ Low infernal and maternal mortality rate~ Literacy is as close to 100%~ All citizens have in-house access to clean water, andalmost 100 percent of households are covered by thecitys unique three-stream sewage system.~ Housing has expanded rapidly, giving most peopleaccess to increasing space in pleasant suburbs.~ Almost 100 percent of households own a colortelevision and more than two-thirds have air-conditioners, electric heaters and audio equipment.~ Excellent internal rail and subway systems movepeople efficiently and a well designed traffic systemmoves vehicles faster than in smaller and lesscongested cities
Primary effects Secondary effects Nearly 200, 000 buildings collapsed, and also 1km Electricity, gas and water supplies were disrupted stretch of the Hanshin Expressway and numerous Fires , caused by broken gas pipes and ruptured bridges along a 130km section of the bullet train route. electricity mains, raged for several days, destroying a Several trains on minor lines were derailed. further 7500 houses (many of which were made of wood). 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe were At one time, the wall of fire extended for over 400 destroyed. meters. Many of the highways were elevated Roads were at gridlock, delaying ambulances and fire engines. The port was damaged due to liquefaction An estimated 230 000 people were made homeless and Modern buildings designed to be earthquake proof had to live in temporary shelters (unheated school gyms suffered little damage although some were left or in open parks) at a time when night-time temperatures standing at an angle when the ground beneath them dropped to -2 degrees. There was a short-term shortage liquefied. of blankets, clean water and food. Many of the older wooden houses collapsed People were afraid to return home as the 716 recorded Over 6, 430 people dead while 35, 000 were injured. aftershocks lasted several days after the main event (74 More than 300, 000 were left homeless. 104, 906 were strong enough to be felt by humans). houses were destroyed and 460, 000 were left Industries, including Mitsubishi and Panasonic, were damaged. This was because of the high density layout forced to close. of the city.
Were the people prepared for the earthquake?No, the people were not prepared. Many homes were notearthquakes proof, leading to many deaths.When did it happened?It happened on Tuesday, January 17th, 1995 at 5.46 a.m. (localtime)What happened?An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 on the Richter Scale struckthe Kobe region of south-central Japan. This region is thesecond most populated and industrialized area after Tokyo,with a total population of about 10 million people. The groundshook for only about 20 seconds but in that short time, over5,000 people died, over 300,000 people became homeless anddamage worth an estimated £100 billion was caused to roads,houses, factories and infrastructure (gas, electric, water,sewerage, phone cables, etc).
Why did it happen?Three crustal plates meet near to the coast ofJapan. Close to Kobe, the denser oceanic PhilippinesPlate is being subducted beneath the lightercontinental Eurasian Plateat a rate of about 10centimeters per year. The Japanese island arc hasbeen formed from the molten magma released bythe melting Philippines Plate. Earthquakes are verycommon here and happen because of the frictionresulting from the two plates colliding along thisdestructive margin. The great destruction whichresulted from the 1995 Kobe Earthquake was dueto the shallow depth of the focus which was onlyabout 16 km below the surface and the fact thatthe epicenter occurred close to a very heavilypopulated area. Seismic shockwaves travelled fromAwaji Island (the epicenter) along the Nojima Faultto the cities of Kobe and Osaka.
Short - term responses Long – term responses1) The Japanese government evacuated people into Kobe’s infrastructure, including water, electricity, gas and telephone services, was fully operational by July.temporary shelters because they were still at risk frommany fires and unstable buildings. The area worst affected by fire had been cleared of rubble but little rebuilding had taken place. Most commercial2) Bulldozers were brought in to clear fallen buildings. buildings in central areas had been repaired.3) Emergencies rations and medication are provided for the All rail services were back to normal by August.survivors. One year later the port of Kobe was 80 percent functional but the Hanshin Expressway remained closed.4) Roads were closed to speed up the recovery effort Replacement buildings had to meet stronger earthquake-5) Fires were put out by the fire department resistance standards. High-rise buildings had to have flexible steel frames with reinforcing bars to absorb shockwaves,6) Due to destroyed transport, the local Yakuza crime houses were not to be built from brick (which shakes loose)syndicate also distributed aid. or wood (which burns too easily) but with fire-resistant materials. New buildings had to be built on solid rock, not clay, as water rises to ground level during an earthquake,7) Rescue teams set out to find survivors causing clay to ‘liquefy’ into mud. This results in the collapse of buildings.8) Around 1.2 million volunteers participated in the reliefwork, for the first three months following the disaster. There was an increase in the number of seismic instruments to record earth movements in the region.9) Big retail firms like Daiei and 7-Eleven used their existing Rubber blocks were built below bridges to absorb the shocksupplies to provide basic necessities to affected people. from earthquakesMobile networks such as NTT and Motorola provided freetelephone service to the people. Most major transport routes were reinforced in order to prevent disruption in the event of another earthquake.10) Non-governmental organizations such as the infamousyakusa-relying on their nationwide network and clear lines of Japan completely revamped its disaster prevention planningauthority-were able to transport relief supplies (water, due to criticism of the former one.food, toiletries, diapers, etc) to the Kobe area and Control over the fire response was handed over to a largerdistribute them to the local residents emergency response ‘command base’ in the region.