Japan Earthquake MEDC CASE STUDY
Background · The earthquake happened on Friday 11th March 2011 and lasted for 5 minutes · An Earthquake warning was sent out about 1 minute before the earthquake hit. · The earthquake measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. · The epicentre was 81 miles away from Sendai in the Pacific Ocean. · The earthquake also caused a tsunami to hit the north-eastern coast of the country.
Causes · Japan suffers many earthquakes every year · The country lies on a Destructive Plate Margin where the Oceanic Pacific Plate meets the Continental Eurasian Plate · The Pacific Plate was forced down/sub-ducted under the Eurasian Plate · Pressure built up between the plates · Eventually this pressure is released and it caused a rapid shift in the plates and a lot of energy to be released. This was the earthquake.
Primary Effects · Most modern building withstood the violent shaking; this was due to the strict building regulations the country has and that they have many facilities to monitor the movement of the ground. Only traditional wooden building suffered major damage. · Most industrial buildings suffered only minor damage from the quake itself. · In some areas subsidence meant that land sunk by 75cm . This lead too many areas being a flood risk. · Many sections of the new Tohoku Expressway were damaged. It did not open again until March 2011. · Power outages hit Tokyo and 8 other areas which affected around 4 million homes. · Panic and chaos was caused by the quake · Fewer than 20 people were killed by the earthquake · Liquefaction turned large areas too mud · There was some ground rupture. · Damage was caused in Tokyo and many injuries in the north where the quake was centred · The yen fell sharply but recouped most of its decline several hours later. Tokyo stocks fell. · Local television showed smoke rising from a Tokyo port building, fire in the capital’s waterfront Odaiba district and an oil refinery ablaze in Ichihara, near Tokyo
Secondary Effects · The Earthquake caused a large tsunami to also hit Japan. o This caused 16,000 deaths and 26,000 people were injured. · 45,700 building were destroyed and 144,300 were damaged by the quake and the tsunami o 1.4million homes were also left without power or water o 582 roads were cut off o 32 bridges were destroyed · Millions of worker also became trapped in Tokyo as the train and underground network was closed · The cost of recovery for the quake and following tsunami was around $235 billion
Short Term Responses · 3 minutes after the quake a tsunami warning was issued · People were urged not to go back to their homes due to the possibility of a tsunami · Search and rescue teams were mobilised and so were medical teams, 30 helicopters were assigned to help the recue and relief effort. They also distributed food, water, blankets etc. · Sports centres and other large building were opened for the 530,000 displaced people to sleep in · Electricity supplies were fixed · The Defence Ministry sent in eight fighter jets to check the damage. · 91 countries sent aid to help the country, from blankets and food to search dogs and military transport. · Over £200 million was raised to help in the first week
Long Term Responses · The massive clean-up effort took a many months · Many people had to rebuild their lives after the quake and tsunami · Preparation and planning in the country increased, eg school drills, earthquake, survival gear, disaster parks. · Engineering developed even more eg earthquake proof building (The Sky Tree)