Kobe Earthquake Assignment

Kobe Earthquake Assignment Words: 830

Kobe Earthquake An earthquake occurred on January 17th, 1995, at 5:46 am in the south-central part of Japan. This earthquake registered as 7. 2 on the Richter scale and caused mass destruction. It was thus named The Great Hanshin Earthquake. It later earned the name as the Kobe Earthquake due to the amount of damage that Kobe, Japan suffered. Its focus was only 16 km below ground. Shock-waves splintered buildings, destroyed roads, and ruptured mains of gas, water, and electricity. Over 6,400 people lost their lives, many of whom lived in Kobe and resided in the suburbs.

The Kobe Earthquake proved clearly and tragically that even the most technologically advanced country can be unprepared for natural disasters. Even though Japan had a disastrous earthquake in 1923 which claimed 140,000 lives and cost billions of dollars in damages, and a mild earthquake which occurred in Northridge in 1994, their efforts to retrofit buildings and freeways proved to be unsatisfactory. The Kobe Earthquake lasted 20 seconds and hundreds of aftershocks remained for days after the incident.

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In addition to the great amount of deaths, 30,000 people were injured, 300,000 were homeless, and 110,000 buildings were damaged. Both citizens and specialists lost trust in the expertise of the early warning systems and earthquake construction techniques. Japanese officials were overconfident as to the stability in their architectural designs and believed these structures to be superior to those that befell to the strength of infamous 1989 San Francisco and 1994 Los Angeles earthquakes.

The collapse of numerous highways and building proved that this confidence was unwarranted. With this faith in place, there was a major lack in local preparedness for natural disasters. Hospitals struggled with the demand for medical treatment as supplies and medical personnel were obstructed by broken and collapsed roads and freeways. People were forced to not only wait in corridors of the hospital due to overcrowding, but some had to undergo operations and treatment in the corridors and waiting rooms as well.

The Japanese boasted on how they were much more prepared for earthquakes in comparison with the United States. They believed that they learned from the lack of preparedness that America showed in the 1909 and 1989 earthquakes; yet, their actions are not acquainted to a country that is so technologically advanced and has numerous preventative destructive measures in place. Arrogance wasn’t Japan’s only fault, as pride and superiority were put before the well-being of its citizens.

Authorities were reluctant to accept aid from foreign countries with no other logical reasoning, except for the fear of appearing to be unable of being self-sufficient. The Japanese felt that they were far more developed than the countries that offered them aid and wanted to keep their feeling of being the supreme power. If there were some kind of organizational structure in place that was designed to prepare and react to natural disasters, decisions on what aid was necessary would have been made promptly and the victims’ needs would have been fulfilled in a timely manner.

Japan’s strict time consuming procedures in regards to how medications were dispersed, the allocation of dogs to locate survivors, and assignments for relief personnel were also a major set back in the effort to render aid to victims. Before essential measures could go into effect, they had to be subjected to protracted procedures such as government licensing, which proved to be a frustrating technicality that made the relief efforts more challenging. In the absence of governmental aid, non-governmental companies contributed by providing food, diapers, water, and other essential items to residents with ease and efficiency.

Ironically, the most technological country in the world appeared to be less capable of rendering aid to Kobe citizens than a local Seven-Eleven. The mass media also played a role in the short comings of the government aid to the victims in Kobe. It became apparent that the media was bias by focusing on positive stories of how residents were cooperative with officials and how rescue efforts were swift and proficient. In actuality, people were fighting and looting which resulted in a temporary loss to legal order.

It is unknown if journalists were encouraged by authorities, but they were optimistic in their reports and served as a band-aid as to Japan’s failure to the rest of the world. The devastation invoked by the Kobe Earthquake was an important lesson that the Japanese had to learn in a catastrophic manner. The central authorities in Tokyo, Japan first appeared paralyzed as they were ineffective in communicating imperative information from the scene, which displayed that they were no better at collecting data and reporting it than local television news programs.

Once information was obtained, it was difficult for anyone to take action since there was no disaster plan in place, nor had a disaster program even been established. If the Japanese had a program such as F. E. M. A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency), a committee that reports directly to the president (or in this case the prime minister), there would have been a more prompt and organized response to this underground eruption.

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Kobe Earthquake Assignment. (2018, Jul 19). Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://anyassignment.com/samples/kobe-earthquake-186/