Kobe Earthquake

An earthquake struck on the 17th January at 5:46 am in the south-central part of Japan. This earthquake was 7.2 on the richter scale and caused mass destruction. It was called The Great Hanshin Earthquake. Its focus was only 30 km below ground. Shock waves travelled to the surface and splintered buildings, roads and mains supplies of gas water and electricity. The Japanese were in a hard to live state. This also hit Osaka and Kyoto.


Kobe has a 1.5 million population its self.

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All children experiencing the vibrating dived under their desks using them as shelters for protection. This stopped falling things hitting them.


The plates which came into contact with each other were the Pacific and Eurasian plates.


The strong ground shaking lasted for over 20 seconds. Hundreds of aftershocks remained for days after the incident, which worried people.
Evacuation shelters opened a couple of days later on the 24th January. They slowly began to realise there wasn’t enough so they used schools to store people. On the 26th January 566 shelters had been opened. Some had to live in tents, BUT at night it dropped below freezing point!
Kobe finally managed to get their Electricity restored on January 23rd, Water service on the 31st March and Gas 11 days later in April. Schools were quick to open their doors. They opened 1 month later.


The damage caused, spread over a 100km radius from the epicentre in Awaji
This was the most devastating earthquake to hit Japan since the one in 1923 that flattened Tokyo. That earthquake was named The Great Kanto Earthquake.


Kobe is a port in Japan. This region has a 10 million population- this was why there were so many deaths. The port was crippled and could not trade. It had just been rebuilt because it had been heavily damaged during the second world war.


The amount of buildings left was minimal. Kobe was reduced to a number of buildings and rubble.
Other effects of this colossal disaster was roads torn, highways blocked, ports shut down, swaying buildings, relatives and friends lost, falling objects, homes falling like cardboard, mains bursting, cars falling, trains swerving off their twisted buckled rails and many, many more.


In Kobe most roads had collapsed in about 25 places. Some say the death toll would have been multiplied if it was rush-hour.


The number of buildings obliterated was phenomenal. One person said:
“My house fell down like cardboard!”
The buildings were weakly built and their foundations were short and stubby.


The number of buildings destroyed exceeds 100,000 and a little less than 30,000 damaged. About 67,421 structures collapsed, more than the 55,145 which partially collapsed. Overall 85% of schools were destroyed (lucky people!)
Because of this, emergency services were overwhelmed and hardly any rescues took place because of things blocking paths and the lack of electricity.


Around 5,500 people died and about 300,000 left homeless plus 125 people were missing. 21,000 people were injured. 58% of people who died were 60 or over and 73% of people died from suffocation of being buried and crushed. One happy moment for one family was that their cat survived the earthquake under rubble in a demolished building!
The earthquake ignited fires. This sent smoke to engulf and hang over the burning ruins. This caused masses of deaths. More than 150 fires occurred in Kobe and surrounding areas in the hours after the earthquake. These resulted in several large fires, and fire fighters were for the most part unable to combat them because of streets being blocked by collapsed buildings and building debris, traffic congestion, and severe water system damage. Wind blew it along!
of deaths by burning and suffocation. In total 6,965 houses were burnt down in addition to 270 partially burnt down along with 80 half burned plus 71 small fires.


The total cost came to around 100 billion dollars.


They thought it would never happen! They should of at least guessed something would happen soon. Japan is a very clever well developed country and failed to do their job in reading future earthquakes.


The earthquake should have been predicted and prevented. Ways to do this are to have communication strategies, better structural design, emergency preparedness planning a wider education of earthquakes and safer building standards. This has now spured people to increase the number of earthquake resistant buildings. They could do this with their computer simulation gizmo and shaking plate digging deeper foundations and make sure the building shake in rhythm with the quake. They thought they were invincible. They found out how wrong they were.

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