Sichuan, China (LEDC case study)

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  • Created by: Kelleigh
  • Created on: 31-05-13 19:47

Background information

It occurred on 12th May 2008 at 2:28pm - people were at work, school and around town, it lasted 2 minutes

It measured 7.9 on the richter scale

it killed around 69,000 people

Sichuan is densely populated, the largest city (Chengdu) has 11 million people and is modern. However, the rural areas are not very developed, most jobs are in agriculture, these poor area have little preparation

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Causes

The Indo-Australian plate collided with the eurasian plate, this collision causes a large number of fault lines  which keep slipping and sliding, they are responsible for the frequent earthquakes in China

The longmenshan fault line slipped and moved, causing the earthquake

However, it is thought that some of the big dams in the longmenshan mountains were responsible for triggering earthquakes due to the weight of the water exerting huge pressures on the fault lines

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Primary effects

Social: Almost every school (7,000) collapsed, killing 6,000 children, these buildings were critisised as 'tofu' - meaning that they looked structurally safe but contained little steel and were not reinforced therefore, easily broken. 70,000 died, 19,000 missing, 245,000 injured and 5 million homeless

Environmental: Landslides and rockslides in mountainous area, 3 villages were overwhelmed, killing 1,000 people. Reservoirs were damaged.

Economical: 50,000 greenhouses were destroyed - this consequently affected food production. 7.3 million livestock barns were destroyed. Irrigation systems for the rice fields were affected. 15,000,000 buildingd collapsed. 5,000 pipes were damaged. 839 water tanks collapsed. 1,300 water treatment works were destroyed.

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Secondary effects

Rivers were blocked from landslides, consequently floods occurred

Poor access to remote areas because roads were blocked so more people died because aid couldn't reach them for 3 days

There was a lot of rainfall which created more landslides and mudflow, burying and killing more people and rescue staff

A train carrying 500 tonnes of gas derailed and caused fires which burned for 40 hours

toxic gases were released fromt he collapse of chemical factories

Hydroelectric plants were damaged so electricity was affected

There was a fuel shortage as coal mines were destroyed or made unsafe during the quake

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What made the disaster worst?

Poor building techniques which didn't meet standards

Poor healthcare facilities in rural areas, unsurprisingly, these buildings collapsed leaving few facilities for the surviving victims

Authorities were completely unaware

There was a slow response, made worse by heavy rainfall

mudslides killed many

There were numerous aftershocks, triggering landslides

the earthquake was shallow - the focus was only 19km below the surface - meaning the seismic waves were more intense

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Immediate responses

The media were not allowed into Sichuan

The Chinese premier asked for volunteers to help

the army was used to free trapped survivors

food supplies, clean water and shelter were provided

the chinese government pledged a $10 million rebuilding fund and banks wrote off debts owed by survivors

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