Sichuan Earthquake Case Study

Causes, social, economic and environmental impacts and responses

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Sichuan Earthquake Case Study
Type of hazard Earthquake
Plate Boundary IndoAustralian plate and Eurasian Plate
Date of event 12th May 2008
Location Sichuan, South East China
Economic development NIC, less developed part of China
Causes 7.9 struck 90km north west of Chengdu at 14:28, tremors
lasted 120 seconds
Focus at a depth of 19m
Longmenshan fault ruptured
1.5km of surface faulting was observed near Qingchuan,
surface cracks and fractures occurred on three mountains
in the area and street cracks were observed in the city itself
Social Impacts 69,000 dead
374,000 injured
18,000 missing
511 million people made homeless
Deadliest earthquake in the 21st century
In rural areas such as Beichuan 80% of buildings collapsed
5 million buildings collapsed
100 schools collapsed killing 10,000 children
Communications such as phones were cut off
Government reversed sterilisations and gave fertility advice
Economic Impacts Oil prices dropped over speculation that the demand from
China would fall
Cost $75191 million
Environmental Impacts Landslides
6 pandas escaped from their enclosures at the Wolong
National Nature Reserve after they were damaged, 2 were
injured and 1 died
34 lakes were formed by landslides blocking rivers
Response Short Term
The Army and volunteers searched for survivors but access
was difficult
The Chinese premier asked for volunteers
Access to some rural areas was impossible so 20
helicopters were assigned to the rescue effort
14th May the Chinese government requested international
Long Term
The government pledged a $10 million rebuilding fund
Banks wrote off debts of the survivors
1 million temporary homes built
The Red Cross donated food and medicine

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Other 64 and 104 major aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from
4.0 to 6.…read more


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