tend to have a greater impact in Less Economically Developed Countries
(LEDCs) than More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs).
Buildings in More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) are
more likely to withstand an earthquake, because they may be designed
to withstand tremors. They may have seismic isolators (e.g. Japan)
or deep foundations (e.g. USA). In 1995 an earthquake measuring
7.2 on the Richter scale hit the Japanese city of Kobe. Only 5000
people were killed.
in LEDCs the buildings are often of poor design because of cost.
This is one reason why earthquake damage in LEDCs is usually greater.
For example in 1999 an earthquake measuring between 6.8-7.0 on
the Richter Scale killed 17 000 people in Turkey.
are more likely to have response plans available. In Japan school
students practise an earthquake drill on the 1st September every
year. Emergency services are well trained in responding to a tectonic
hazard. In contrast LEDCs tend to lack disaster response plans.
have to rely on aid from MEDCs to assist in responding to earthquakes.
Aid can come in many forms e.g. medical facilities, tents, rescue
teams etc. Aid can take anywhere up to 3 days to arrive. This
reduces the chance of survival for many people injured or trapped
and Urban areas
density also affects the impact of an earthquake. Earthquakes
can be a devastating phenomenon when they hit densely populated
areas. Their effect can be greatly reduced in more sparsely populated
from the epicentre
the epicentre the stronger the earthquake. Therefore earthquakes
that have epicentres close to major urban areas tend to cause
more problems than those that occur some distance from urban areas.
Lack of emergency
services and good communication links in Less Economically Developed
Countries mean that people are not rescued as quickly, or cared
for as well, as they would be in a More Economically Developed
earthquakes can make it more difficult to rescue people immediately
after an earthquake. However, there are few people on the street,
in public buildings and at work.
can result in higher fatalities if they occur in times of cold
The type of soil or rock that an area is built on affects the
impact of the earthquake. Soils that contain a large amount of
water can turn to liquid causing the buildings to sink. This is