MEDC Earthquake Case Study

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Give an example of an MEDC earthquake. When did this take place?
L'Aquila, Italy. In April 2009.
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What is the population of L'Aquila?
70,000.
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Why is the area prone to earthquakes?
Due to a major fault line that runs north-south along the Appenine mountain range. There's also an east-west fault line across the centre of Italy. The fault lines are close to the destuctive plate margin between the Eurasian and African Plates.
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At what time did the earthquake occur?
3.32 am (local time).
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What was the magnitude of the earthquake?
6.3 on the Richter scale.
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What was the cause of the earthquake? How long did it last?
A movement along the north-south fault line. It lasted for a few seconds and was felt throughout central Italy.
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Where was the focus and the epicentre?
The focus was at a depth of 5 miles, and the epicentre was close to L'Aquila.
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What aftershocks took place?
Several aftershocks were felt in the days following the main earthquake. Some of them measured around 5 on the Richter scale.
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What type of impacts were greater than expected?
The social impacts.
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What was the estimated cost of the earthquake to Italy?
$15 billion.
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How many buildings were destroyed? What did these include?
Thousands of buildings, both historic and modern, were damaged or destroyed. These included part of the city hospital, a dormitory at the university, and L'Aquila cathedral. This caused religious communities to be split up.
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Where was a bridge destroyed?
Near the town of Fossa.
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Where did a water pipe burst? What did this cause?
Near the town of Paganica. A landslide.
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What caused further damage to collapsed buildings?
Fires.
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How many deaths were there? What mostly caused these?
300, mostly caused by collapsed buidlings.
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How many deaths were there in Omna?
38, out of the 350 residents.
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How many people were injured?
1,500.
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How many people were made homeless? Where were 10,000 of these?
70,000, with 10,000 of them being in hotels along the coast.
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What hampered rescue efforts?
Aftershocks.
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How many schools were destroyed?
8.
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How were young people affected?
Thousands of young people had to move away from the area to other parts of Italy to find jobs after buildings were destroyed.
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What was the size of the area affected by surface ruptures, rockfalls, and landslides?
1,000 square kilometres. This caused more people to become trapped as roads were blocked and could not be accessed by emergency services.
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How many jobs were lost? What was done because of this?
16,000. Nothing was done.
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What environmental impact was there?
Wildlife habitats were destroyed.
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What caused the impacts to be greater than expected?
The timing of the earthquake as it happened at around three in the morning when most people would have been asleep, and therefore slow to react.
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What management strategies did Italy have in place? Why was this?
Building techniques, prediction, and planning. This is because Italy is prone to earthquakes due to the geographical location.
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What building techniques were in place in Italy?
Because of the risks, there were strict building regulations to ensure that newer buildings were designed and built to withstand earthquakes.
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What was the problem with the building techniques?
Some of the newer buildings that were supposed to meet the regulations had been poorly built and they were severely damaged or destroyed.
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Give an example of where the building techniques failed.
The San Salvatore Hospital in west L'Aquila was built in 2000. It should have been able to withstand the earthquake, but it collapsed and patients were treated in tents.
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What has been done to solve the problems with the building techniques?
An investigation was set up to look into why so many modern buildings, like the hospital, collapsed.
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What planning was in place in Italy?
Italy has a Civil Protection Department that trains volunteers to help with things like rescue operations.
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What prediction was in place in Italy?
Seismologists were monitoring the area prior to the event. Some people felt that the earthquake hazard could have been managed better.
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What complaint was made about predition in Italy?
In August 2009, local residents made a formal complaint that six seismologists working in the area didn't predict the earthquake, and requested a criminal investigation as they were to blame for the deaths of people.
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What is the problem with prediction?
It is currently impossible to predict exactly when and where an earthquake may occur.
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What was set up for the homeless people?
Camps, which 40,000 used, and some were there for 8 months. They provided water, food, and medical care.
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What were used to rescue survivors? What was used to clear the rubble?
Ambulances, fire engines, and the army. Cranes and diggers were used to clear the rubble.
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What international teams provide?
Rescue dogs, and 12,000 rescue and support workers were flown in.
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How did the government help the survivors financially?
Money was provided by the government to pay rent, Mortgage payments, and gas and electricity bills were suspended.
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What did the Italian Prime Minister promise in the long term?
To build a new town to replace L'Aquila as the capital of the area.
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What had been achieved by the end of 2009?
4,500 new buildings had been put up to house 12,000 people who had been made homeless.
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What did mobile phone companies do in response to the earthquake?
All mobile phone payments were suspended in Abruzzo, and people were sent SIM cards and mobile phones.
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How did transport companies respond to the earthquake?
AISCAT declared that all toll roads in Abruzzo would be free of charge. Ferrovie dello Stato offered railway passages to house homelesspeople, and free rail tickets were offered to everyone in Abruzzo.
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Card 2

Front

What is the population of L'Aquila?

Back

70,000.

Card 3

Front

Why is the area prone to earthquakes?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

At what time did the earthquake occur?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What was the magnitude of the earthquake?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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