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Northridge Earthquake

- 17th January 1994

- Hit San Fernando Valley at 4:31am

- 6.7 on the Mercalli scale

- Shaking lasted 10-20 seconds

- This caused major structural damage, highways collpapsing and gas line ruptures

- Epicentre was near Northridge and occured along the Oak Ridge Fault, starting at mountains above Northridge, extending past Ventura, California and out into the Pacific Ocean

- The cause was the movement of one crustal rock over another (destructive plate boundary)

- Timing helped limit the number of injuries as in the early hours of the morning, many were indoors and out of danger

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Northridge Earthquake (impacts)

Primary impacts

- Approximately 60 lives were lost

- Estimated 80,000 to 125,000 were permanently/temporarily displaced from their homes

- 12,000 structures were damaged

- 9,000 buildings had no electricity, 20,000 had no gas and 49,000 had no water

- Santa Monica Freeway was damaged in the earthquake

Secondary impacts

- Other major highways and 11 major roads in downtown Los Angeles were damaged for 32km away from the epicentre

- This caused congested traffic in the days immediately after the earthquake

- A month after, 400,000 registered for some form of financial assistance (costs ranging from $13 billion to over $40 billion)

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Sichuan Earthquake

- Occured on May 12th 2009 at 2:28am

-Measured 7.9 on the Richter scale

- Hit Sichuan Province in Western China

- Epicentre was underground at a depth of 12 miles and was 80km north-west of Chengdu

- The earthquake was felt in Bejing and Shanghai

- Was a result of the Indian plate moving north towards the Eurasian plate (about 50mm a year), which is an example of a collision plate boundary

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Sichuan Earthquake (impacts)


- Earthquake claimed 70,000 lives and over 15 million lived in affected area, including 4 million in Chengdu

- 5 million homes were destroyed and 21 million damaged, along with 7,000 schools

- In June 2008, low-lying areas were flooded as a torrent of water was released from a dangerous lake formed by landslides


- Communication lines, roads and phone lines were distrupted

- A dam of rock and mud holding back rising waters of Jian River had threatened to burst and flood towns/cities downstream, that are home to 1.3 million people

- The cost of restoring infrastructure was put at $75 million

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Hurricane Katrina

- 23rd August - tropical depression forms off the south-eastern Bahamas

- 24th August - upgraded to tropical storm and given the name 'Katrina'

- 25th August - strengthened to become a hurricane and made landfall in the morning, north of Aventura in Florida

- 26th August - storm intensifies as it crosses the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, reaching Category 2 status

- 27th August - storm has doubled in size and reached Category 3 as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico

- 28th August - reaches peak strength of Category 5, maximum wind spped of 282 kph

- 29th August - makes landfall for the second time at 6:10am in New Orleans

- 30th August - hurricane follows course of Mississippi being downgraded to tropical depression near Tennessee

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Northridge Earthquake (responses)

- Los Angeles County Officials had an Emergency Operations Plan in order to manage the earthquake:

- Within a week, the government issued a $7.5 billion aid package

- While conducting damage assessments, fire companies often stopped to handle avariety of fires and other life threats. Although this helped victims, it also slowed the damage assessment process down

- The American Red Cross dispatched 15,000 trained relief workers to harbor 22,000 refugees in 47 shelters and provide 1.7 million meals

- They also helped find housing for 130,000 middle-class and low-income families

- The City of Los Angeles also developed a Demolition and Debris Removal Program to handle the debris generated from the earthquake

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Sichuan Earthquake (reponses)

- In December 2008, government officials acknowledged that many school buildings across the country are poorly constructed, allocating 27 yuan for the disaster

- 20 helicopters were assigned to rescuse a relief, however some rural areas were impossible to access

- Big efforts were made to free people trapped in buildings, and land was flattened so that tents could be accessed

- One million small temporary homes will be built to house the homeless

- China requested international help 2 days after the earthquake

- Banks wrote off debts owed by survivors

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Hurricane Katrina (impacts)

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