Monday, 2 April 2012

Reducing Impacts of Earthquakes

  • Currently impossible to predict when an earthquake will happen. But if you can, it would give people time to evacuate which would reduce the number of injuries and deaths.
  • There can be clues that an earthquake is about to happen, such as lots of small tremors, cracks appearing in rocks and strange animal behaviour (e.g. rats abandoning nests). 
  • It's possible to predict where future earthquakes may happen using data from past earthquakes e.g. mapping where earthquakes have happened shows which places are likely to be affected again,  or where there is a gap where there haven't been major EQs along a fault line there is a probability of an earthquake occurring there-these places can prepare themselves for the impacts of an earthquake. 
Building techniques
  • Buildings can be designed to withstand earthquakes. e.g. by using materials like reinforced concrete or building special foundations that absorb an earthquake's energy. 
  • Constructing earthquake-resistant buildings reduces the number of buildings destroyed by an earthquake, so fewer people will be killed, injured, made homeless and made unemployed. See post on 'Earthquake-resistance Building Design'.  
  • Future developments, e.g. new shopping malls, can be planned to avoid the areas most at risk from earthquakes. This reduces the number of buildings destroyed by an earthquake. 
  • Firebreaks can be made to reduce the spread of fires.
  • Emergency services can train and prepare for disasters, e.g. by practising rescuing people from collapsed buildings and by stockpiling medicine and other equipment. This reduces the number of people killed.
  • Governments can plan evacuation routes to get people out of dangerous areas quickly and safely after an earthquake. This reduces the number of people killed/injured by things like fires. 
  • Governments and other organisations can educate people on what to do in the case of an earthquake. (e.g. stand in a doorway) and how to evacuate. This reduces deaths. --Schools and companies should practise earthquake drills regularly. 
  • People can be told how to make a survival kit containing things like food, water, a torch, a radio and batteries. The kits reduce the chance of people dying if they're stuck in the area. 
  • Poorer countries that have been affected by earthquakes can receive aid from governments or organisations-it can be things like food, water, money or service people (e.g. doctors/rescuers)
  • Aid helps to reduce the impacts, e.g. money-aid is used to rebuild homes, reducing homelessness. 

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