Exploring Why LEDC's Suffer Greater Damage From Earthquakes Than MEDC's

Exploring Why LEDC's Suffer Greater Damage From Earthquakes Than MEDC's
A medc is a more economically developed country; therefore it can afford to spend money on improving the countries stability and helping to decrease the damage from an earthquake. An example of a medc is Kobe, in Tokyo, where in January 1995; an earthquake that measured 7.5 on the Richter scale hit the city. A ledc is a less economically developed country and therefore cannot afford to spend money to protect the country from earthquakes. An example of an ledc is Armenia, in Columbia, where on the 25th January 1999; an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale was the worst earthquake the country had experienced since 1983. As MEDC?s have more money to spend on prediction methods, I would expect there to be less deaths and damage in MEDC?s than in LEDC?s. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, because MEDC?s are more economically developed, they can afford to spend money on prediction methods, such as gps satellite, which is when data is sent from satellites to computers with information such as plate movement and changes in the earth?s surface. This prediction method is very accurate; however, a disadvantage is that if the computers fail then all of the data will be lost. Also, the fact that MEDC?s have more money would also mean that they can spend more money on preparing the country for an earthquake.This can be done by reinforcing the bridges and by starting to make earthquake proof buildings. Also, the government could give out information of what to do if an earthquake strikes. This could be posted to each person?s house explaining the key steps involved. In comparison, as LEDC?s do not have as much money, they cannot afford to spend money on earthquake precautions. Therefore, LEDC?s have poor quality building and precaution methods, whereas MEDC?s have sophisticated building and prediction and prevention methods. An example of an earthquake in an medc is the earthquake that occurred in Kobe, Japan, in January 1995. There were devastating effects of this earthquake. There were 5,100 deaths as a result of the earthquake and over 25,000 people were injured. The short term social effects were that an estimated 230,000 people were made homeless and had to live in temporary shelters (which were usually unheated school gyms or in open parks). People were afraid to return home because there were. 716 (74 of which were strong enough to be felt) recorded aftershocks lasted several days after the main event. The roads were also in severe gridlock, which meant that the emergency services were delayed. The short term economical effects were that industries including Mitsubishi and Panasonic were forced to close because of the damage to their factories. This led to the companies? machinery and stock being destroyed and therefore the companies went out of business. The short term environmental effects were that nearly 200,000 buildings collapsed, and a 1km stretch of the Hanshin expressway and numerous bridges along a 30km section of the bullet train route. Furthermore, several trains were de-railed and 120 out of 150 quays in the port of Kobe were destroyed. Electricity, gas and water supplies were disrupted and because of the broken gas pipes, many fires broke out in the region which ruptured electricity mains. The fires raged for several days, destroying a further 7500 houses (many of which were wood). We can see that there was a substantial amount of damage occurring in the Kobe earthquake, even though it is an medc, which leads us to believe that other factors need to be considered as to why there was so much damage. An example of an earthquake in an ledc is the earthquake in Armenia, Columbia. This was an earthquake of 6.3 on the Richter scale and occurred between the Nazca and South American plates. The earthquake had its epicentre 170km west of the capital, which was a reason for the number of deaths. The short term social effects of this were that over 1000 people were killed and many thousands were injured. This is in contrast to the number of deaths from the Kobe earthquake, which is mainly due to the population density of Kobe. Due to the fact that there people were in panic, people?s belongings were being looted. Also, because there were so many building crashing down, and landslides, it meant that people?s houses were being destroyed and as a result people had nowhere to live. Also, because of the many injuries and deaths, there hospitals became overcrowded. Furthermore, there was a lack of communication and a lack of services. The short term economical effects were that there was the destruction of banks which meant that a great deal of money would have also been destroyed affecting trade and industry. Moreover, the destruction of offices would not only affect services, jobs would be lost and the country would not run efficiently. The short term environmental effects would be that there were many gas explosions, which would lead to the destruction of many buildings. This can be compared to the Kobe earthquake, where there were also many gas explosions and many fires. Long term effects of the earthquake were that the coffee supplies decreased, which meant that the coffee prices increased as there was a high demand. Also, a social effect would be that funerals would have to be arranged would also lead to a rise in income for funeral directors as there would be so much demand as there was so many deaths. I disagree to an extent with the statement that LEDC?s suffer greater damage from earthquakes than MEDC?s because from the information given from the examples of earthquakes, we can see some definite similarities and comparisons. We can see that the earthquake in Kobe caused mass destruction and severe loss of lives. This does not support my hypothesis that LEDC?s suffer greater damage as Kobe is an medc. We can actually see that there was more damage in the medc than the ledc, which totally contradicts my hypothesis. However, we must look closer in order to find out why this is. Firstly, the earthquake in the medc was about 10 times bigger than the earthquake in the ledc. This would have greatly affected the damage done by the earthquake and would have meant than in fact it depends on the physical features of the earthquake that determines the damage done. Also, another factor that would affect the damage done by an earthquake would be the time of day. An earthquake is more likely to cause greater damage and greater loss of life at night time. This is because everyone are in their houses and would mean that there would be the greatest change of taking most lives if an earthquake struck at night time. Another reason why an earthquake may not cause as many deaths is because of the emergency services. If the emergency services the country has are good, and respond quickly, then they would be able to save many more lives meaning that there would be less damage as a result of the earthquake. Furthermore, if the houses are not built to a high standard, then they would not be able to withstand the tremors or aftershocks form the earthquake. If the houses and buildings were built to a high standard, then a great deal of damage would be prevented. Moreover, if the epicentre of the earthquake is close to a densely populated area, then it does not matter if the country is a medc or a ledc because the fact that the earthquake is so close to an area with many people and buildings, then of course it would do a tremendous amount of damage. In conclusion, I do not agree that far with the statement that more damage is done from earthquakes in LEDC?s than MEDC?s. This is due to a number of reasons. I believe that whether the country is rich or poor has little effect on the damage dealt by an earthquake. I believe that it instead matters on the physical aspects of where the earthquake has struck and the size of it. I do agree that if MEDC?s did reinforce the country?s bridges, and buildings, then there would be less damage as a result of the earthquake. However, I believe that it does not matter how much protection there is because if there is an earthquake that is 8 on the Richter scale, and its epicentre 5km from the capital of the country, where it is the most densely populated, then of course there will be catastrophic effects. All this evidence points to that in fact it does not matter whether the country is an medc or an ledc, but what does matter is the size and magnitude of the earthquake, the epicentre of the earthquake and whether the area is densely populated.

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