Bam 2003 Earthquake Case Study

Detailed case study on the Bam 2003 Earthquake, including:

  • Pictures of Devastation
  • Map of Bam and earthquake location
  • Map of the plate tectonics surrounding Bam
  • Effects
  • Short Term response
  • Long Term response
  • The future
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Preview of Bam 2003 Earthquake Case Study

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More attention also needs to be paid to earthquake education. In
Japan, for instance, pupils regularly have earthquake drills, and
people are instructed what to do if a quake occurs.
The disaster at Bam has helped the country to think forward, and
INTRODUCTION Pulled alive from a collapsed building 13 days after the earth-
quake struck. Tents were provided as shelter for those with-
out homes. Temperatures at night in Bam drop to well below
led to discussion of the possibility of a similar earthquake in Teh-
ran, the capital of Iran. The capital lies on a major seismic fault,
and is at high risk of earthquakes. The results of an earthquake
freezing so some form of shelter is essential. in Tehran would be devastating. One estimate suggest that 50%
Bam is a city within the Kerman Province located in South East Iran. The
Bam earthquake occurred at 5 am on 26th December 2003, with a magnitude of the buildings would be destroyed, with enormous loss of life. It
Water supplies had also been destroyed and in order to stop has been suggested that another city should become the capital.
of 6.8 on the Richter Scale. The earthquake was caused by movement of two
the spread of disease water was brought into the area by
tectonic plates. The Arabian plate moves northward against the Eurasian
tanker. An aid group installed temporary latrines around the Although Bam was a catastrophic event, it is still not possible to
plate at the rate of about 3 centimetres each year. This is not a smooth mo-
city. predict when an earthquake might occur, but our understanding
tion - tension builds up and then the plates suddenly slip against each other.
of earthquakes is improving. We do know how to build earth-
This creates shockwaves and causes Earthquakes. This plate movement
takes place across the whole of Iran. quake-proof buildings, but it is costly and some countries cannot
afford it. Overall, the fact of the matter is, Earthquakes don't kill
people, but buildings and builders of inferior buildings do. This
Structural damage caused by the Bam Earthquake A month after the earthquake, tents and field hospitals had can be directly related to Bam, due to their poor structures of
been built to house the survivors. UN agencies and local and buildings, of which the majority, if not all, collapsed when the
Before foreign aid groups had set up water points and were distrib- quake struck in 2003.
The earthquake destroyed over 70% of the buildings in the city of Bam. The uting a regular food supply. Initially, people were reluctant to
death toll reached 26,271 - which was more than half the total population of move to these camps. They wanted to stay near their homes,
43,000. More than 500 people were still missing 3 months after the quake. If particularly those whose relatives were still missing. But
you look at the pictures directly on the left, you can see "before" and "after" steadily the camps filled.
pictures of the Citadel. Before the earthquake, it was a beautiful crowning
glory of the city. After the earthquake struck, it was reduced to a ruin. Thou- The long term cost of reconstruction is estimated to be £543
sands of people were left homeless, as within 10 seconds the city crumbled million. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that £18
to dust and rubble. million will be needed to restore the city's health service. This
is mainly due to the collapse of the Cities 2 hospitals, destroy-
The main reason for the devastation and terrible loss of life was the fact that ing all the equipment and facilities, as well as the loss of over
most people were at home asleep or just getting up to go to early morning half the cities health staff.
prayers. This meant they were still inside buildings, and when the earthquake
occurred, they didn't have enough time to exit their houses. Instead, they Schools were also destroyed in the quake. 2 weeks after the
were buried alive beneath rubble. The most reasonable thing to do if a city is disaster children were queuing outside tents and prefabricat-
an earthquake ­prone area is to build buildings which can withstand the ed buildings to register in the first moves to revive the educa-
quakes. However, in Bam, much of the building is done by people putting up tion system.
their own houses. This is mainly because they simply cannot afford proper
materials and skilled labour. There are many small kilns producing bricks but Many of the survivors were women who lost their husbands
because of the demand, they are not fired for the 28 days needed to make and children. They not only lost their loved ones, but they also
them strong. They were so weak that you could bang the two bricks together lost the family breadwinner - their husband who went out and
and they would just fall to pieces. Obviously, for high-rise and governmental made the money. Relief organisations such as IFRC
buildings, the regulations are better enforced when it comes to building these (International federation of Red Cross and Crescent Socie- "Quake-proof houses," like the one above, would be excellent in
structures, But the demand for housing is so big in Iran, with a population that ties) were working with the facilities to provide support. a city like Bam. It would largely reduce the number of deaths as
has doubled in the last 20 years. This explains why an earthquake in a city the buildings will be designed in order to take the stress of the
like Bam has a catastrophic result. quake and remain upstanding, therefore people wouldn't get bur-
ied beneath building rubble.
Another effect of the natural disaster was that 2 of the city's hospitals col-
Before and after the Earthquake - Bam Citadel lapsed, crushing many of the staff. More than half of all Bam's health workers
were killed in the earthquake. Although the quake was a devastating event, As you can see from the plate margin
the fact that more than half of health professionals died such as Nurses and diagram on the left, the Arabian plate is
Doctors, meant that treatment for those who were badly injured or trapped moving northwards towards the Eura-
couldn't be carried out, increasing the death toll. Finally, the tremor also cut sian plate. As they do, tension builds
electricity and water supplies, as well as all phone services. up between the Arabian and Eurasian
plate, and when they slip against each
other, it creates shockwaves and thus,
an earthquake.
Local teams of rescuers, including the army and volunteers, were quickly on
the scene. Many countries, including Russia, Britain, Germany and Spain,
offered to send relief teams and supplies. The USA, despite its opposition to
Iran's government, offered humanitarian assistance. More than 40 countries The entrance to an Iranian Field Hospital, constructed a
sent aid to Bam immediately after the quake. With Iran being an LEDC, this month after the quake struck
This map displays the Bam Earthquake. The light support and aid helped massively. Without it, the death toll would have been
grey displays other countries in the Asia continent, thousands more.
whilst the dark grey area displays Iran. The red dot
is the epicentre of the earthquake, and the red cir- Emergency centres were set up in makeshift buildings to care for the thou-
sands who had been injured and to comfort the bereaved. 1 victim of the Iran is prone to earthquakes. The new buildings and those still
cles replicate seismic waves. The Earthquake af- standing must be made as earthquake-proof as possible. This
fected Bam the most, but it also affected surround- Bam earthquake, a 17 year old boy, told a BBC reporter that he had lost all of
his family. His parents, grandmother and 2 sisters were under the rubble. is expensive and requires rigorous building regulation, which
ing areas located within the Kerman Province. is difficult for all but the wealthiest countries. 6 years after the
Rescuers searched for people buried deep in the rubble. One man was quake struck, plans are still in place to inspect buildings that Chris Cartwright - AS Geography Col 5
did not collapse, but where present at the time of the quake. Unit 1.1 - Global Hazards - KVY - 27/10/2009


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