The Kobe earthquake (also known as the Great Hanshin earthquake, Hanshin meaning Osaka-Kobe) was a tragic disaster on several levels. The earthquake lasted just twenty seconds but caused so much damage, trauma and of course, loss. The focus of the earthquake was 16km beneath the epicentre, 20km from the city of Kobe. Japan, ironically, was named the “most earthquake proof country” before this disaster occurred. The earthquake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale and many more died from the fires that followed the earthquake.
On the morning of January 17th, many were sleeping peacefully. Earthquake analysists were aware of tremors happening, too small though to even to be noticed. On average there are five tremors exceeding 1.5 on the Richter scale a year in Japan, there was 4 in just under 5 and a half hours that day. At 05.46AM, the earthquake hit, and this time, it wasn’t unrecognised. During the twenty second tremor, buildings collapsed, 1km of the expressway (to maximise space, 160km of the freeway system stand on pillars above the city) was destroyed and gas and water supplies were cut off. The strong ground motions that led to the collapse of the Hanshin Express way also caused severe liquefaction damage to port and wharf facilities. Road and rail links were damaged, making it difficult for fire engines and ambulances to get to the worst affected parts of the city. Telecommunication links were also cut off, resulting in international problems on a large scale. International companies like Apple relied on business in Japan to run their programmes, and were forced to shut down temporarily. The Toyota Company had two factories in Kobe, the only place were certain vehicle parts were made, making the company grind to an abrupt halt.
In total, almost 6,000 people were killed (around 4,600 were from Kobe), 26,000 were injured, 110,000 buildings were destroyed while 310,000 survivors were then made homeless. 120 out of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe were also...
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