Kobe Earthquake

Topics: Earthquake, Japan, Great Hanshin earthquake Pages: 3 (865 words) Published: September 25, 2008
Kobe Earthquake
An earthquake occurred on January 17th, 1995, at 5:46 am in the south-central part of Japan. This earthquake registered as 7.2 on the Richter scale and caused mass destruction. It was thus named The Great Hanshin Earthquake. It later earned the name as the Kobe Earthquake due to the amount of damage that Kobe, Japan suffered. Its focus was only 16 km below ground. Shock-waves splintered buildings, destroyed roads, and ruptured mains of gas, water, and electricity. Over 6,400 people lost their lives, many of whom lived in Kobe and resided in the suburbs. The Kobe Earthquake proved clearly and tragically that even the most technologically advanced country can be unprepared for natural disasters. Even though Japan had a disastrous earthquake in 1923 which claimed 140,000 lives and cost billions of dollars in damages, and a mild earthquake which occurred in Northridge in 1994, their efforts to retrofit buildings and freeways proved to be unsatisfactory. The Kobe Earthquake lasted 20 seconds and hundreds of aftershocks remained for days after the incident. In addition to the great amount of deaths, 30,000 people were injured, 300,000 were homeless, and 110,000 buildings were damaged. Both citizens and specialists lost trust in the expertise of the early warning systems and earthquake construction techniques. Japanese officials were overconfident as to the stability in their architectural designs and believed these structures to be superior to those that befell to the strength of infamous 1989 San Francisco and 1994 Los Angeles earthquakes. The collapse of numerous highways and building proved that this confidence was unwarranted.

With this faith in place, there was a major lack in local preparedness for natural disasters. Hospitals struggled with the demand for medical treatment as supplies and medical personnel were obstructed by broken and collapsed roads and freeways. People were forced to not only wait in corridors of the hospital due...
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