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Case study: Sichuan china earthquake 2008

Where did it happen? China is found located in eastern Asia. The


province of Sichuan is found in the south west of the country on the
destructive boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian
plate. The earthquake occurred on the Longmenshan fault

What happened? On May 12th 2008, at 2:30pm an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.9 on the
Richter scale struck Wenchuan county, Sichuan. The epicenter was 80 kilometres west-northwest of
Chengdu, the provincial capital, with a focal depth of 19 km. The earthquake was also felt in nearby
countries and as far away as both Beijing and Shanghai. Tremors lasted for 2 minutes.

Primary effects Secondary effects


E A cargo train carrying 13 petrol tanks Oil prices dropped over speculation
c derailed in Hui County, Gansu, and that the demand from china would fall
o caught on fire after the rail was Cost $191 million
n distorted. In Shifang, chemical plants collapsed
o 391 dams were damaged by the killing hundreds and releasing toxic
m quake. ammonia
i
c
S 69,197 people were killed. Communications such as telephones
o 374,176 injured, with were cut off.
c 18,222 listed as missing
i 4.8 million people homeless although
a it could be as high as 11 million.
l 100 schools collapsed killing 10,000
children
E Landslides. 6 pandas escaped from their
n enclosures at the Wolong National
v Nature Reserve after they were
i damaged, 2 pandas were injured, one
r panda was found dead.
o Rivers were blocked by landslides
n forming quake lakes 34 lakes were
m formed in total. Risk of flooding when
e the dams collapsed.
n
t
a
l
Immediate responses Long term responses
20 helicopters were assigned to rescue China requested help from Japan, Russia
and relief efforts immediately after the and Korea helped
quake The red cross donated food and medicine
Troops parachuted in to help 1 million temporary homes built
Thousands of army men deployed The Chinese government pledged a
Calls made to increase the number of $10million rebuilding fund
tents Banks wrote of debts of survivors who did
not have insurance.

How well was the hazard managed? The area was not prepared for an earthquake. There is no fixed
evacuation spots and there is not a regular earthquake drill. This is mainly because such a large
earthquake was not expected in that region. Many buildings collapsed because they were poorly
constructed, meaning that they were not earthquake proof. The country is highly corrupt which means
that any regulations on buildings put in place could have been bypassed in order to make cheap
buildings.

Why did so many schools collapse? School buildings are supposed to conform to building standards
which are much higher than normal residential buildings. This is to protect children from collapsing
buildings. However, the collapse of many school buildings shows that the standards have not been met.
This has led to the earthquake proof nature of other school buildings to be assessed.