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It's not possible to prevent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. However, careful management of these hazards can minimise the damage that they cause. Prediction is the most important aspect of this, as this gives people time to evacuate the area and make preparations for the event.
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"It was the buildings, not the earthquake, that killed 220,000 people, that injured 330,000, that displaced 1.3 million people, that cut off food and water and supplies for an entire nation.”
Thanks to new technologies and testing methods, some of today's largest buildings can stay safe in a quake without compromising their size or aesthetic design. In fact, to attain their great height, many of the world's largest buildings utilize architectural elements that also protect them in case of disaster.
Innovatively constructed and safely designed, here are the seven largest earthquake-proof buildings in the world. Mouse click and go to the individual pages to see special earthquake resistant features for each building.
Six weeks after the Haiti shock, Chile was struck by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake. It was 500 times more powerful than the Haiti quake, yet killed less than 1% of the Haitian total. Why was the Haiti earthquake so destructive? Some of the reasons are listed here:
Very few of Haiti’s buildings were constructed for earthquake resistance. An absence of building codes combined with a deficit of licensed contractors, engineers and architects contributed to a structural environment ripe for disaster.
The walls of 90% of Haitian buildings are constructed with either cement, earth, clisse (“sticks, twigs and branches”), bricks or stone. Contractors and builders often cut corners in construction, reducing costs by using easily available building materials such as limestone dust and unrefined sand, which produce a cheaper but weaker concrete.
Haiti is located next to a geological fault zone that scientists have long termed “a major seismic hazard” to the population.
Population Density & Urbanization
Before the earthquake, half of Haiti’s population of 10 million lived in densely populated urban areas, including one in four Haitians residing in Port-au-Prince. This population density around the earthquake’s epicenter meant that an incredible half of the country’s residents were directly impacted by the quake.
|Type of hazards||Prediction||Preparation|
|Volcanoes||Mornitoring warning signs including small earthquakes, temperatures and gas released around volcanoes.||
|Tsunamis||Monitoring activities that may trigger tsunamis such as under sea earthquakes, landslides, etc..||Set up Tsunami Warning Centers such as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) to warn people before tsunami strikes.|
Tectonic hazards will have differenct affect on More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) and Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs). Hazards in LEDCs are usually more deadly and effective than in MEDCs. The differences can be categorized as:
|Health Care||Often have to rely on aid from overseas as their health system, which is inadequate. This overseas aid takes time to arrive, which could mean far more casualties.||Have the medical resources and money to quickly get appropriate aid to areas after a natural disaster.|
|Emergency Services||Often do not have these emergency plans, and so far (as seen in TURKEY) more damage can be done before the emergency services reach the stricken area.||In contries like Japan and New Zealand, there are well thought out emergency procedures. Practices in schools and places of work mean that people know what to do it the event of a natural disaster. The Government's and military have special emergency plans to help with the situation.|
|Building Technology||Don't tend to have the technology available or money to pay for it, and their buildings are very vulnerable to earthquakes.||Countries such as Japan and the United States have been at the fore front of developing buildings that have more chance of resisting an earthquake.|
|Scientific Prediction||Less investment for this type of research and development.||Have more investment for monitoring and research.|
|Recovery||Usually have to rely on aid from overseas, quick recovery is often impossible for them.||Tend to be able to recover quickly from the hazards, due to having the insurance, investment and technology needed.|
Construction techniques can have a huge impact on the death tolls from earthquakes. The difference betwen Chile and Haiti earthquake death tolls comes from building construction and technology. In Haiti, the buildings were constructed quickly and cheaply. Chile, a richer and more industrialized nation, adheres to more stringent building codes. Here is a video that shows how a large shake platform can be used to test a full-scale structure in response to the motion of an earthquake.
Is your house prepared for a major earthquake ? Play the game and check it out!