Earthquake Risk Mitigation Research Paper

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Earthquake Mitigation in Emergency Management

Earthquake Risks and Hazards

Earthquake Risk Mitigation

Mandatory-structural Mitigation

Nonstructural Mitigation

This paper aims at analyzing the risk and hazards associated with earthquakes. In addition to that, it will also put light on the earthquake risk mitigation strategies that are used by various organizations. Apart from that, the paper will also propose strategies that would further enhance the earthquake mitigation practices of public and private institutions.

Earthquake mitigation in Emergency Management

An earthquake can be defined as the sudden slip on the fault and the resulting shaking of ground seismic energy radiations that are caused by the slip. This shaking and energy radiations can be caused by some magmatic or volcanic activities and other stress changes in the infrastructure of earth as well. (U.S. Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, 2014) The table below provides information about some of the largest earthquakes in the history of the United States of America:

S.no

Magnitude

Location

1.

9.2

March 28, 1964

Prince William Sound, Alaska

2.

8.8

March 9, 1957

Andreanof Islands, Alaska

3.

8.7

Feb. 4, 1965

Rat Islands, Alaska

4.

8.3

Nov. 10, 1938

East of Shumagin Islands, Alaska

5.

8.3

July 10, 1958

Lituya Bay, Alaska

6.

8.2

Sept. 10, 1899

Yakutat Bay, Alaska

7.

8.2

Sept. 4, 1899

Near Cape Yakataga, Alaska

8.

8.0

May 7, 1986

Andreanof Islands, Alaska

9.

7.9

Feb. 7, 1812

New Madrid, Missouri

10.

7.9

Jan. 9, 1857

Fort Tejon, California

11.

7.9

April 3, 1868

Ka'u District, Island of Hawaii

12.

7.9

Oct. 9, 1900

Kodiak Island, Alaska

13.

7.9

Nov. 30, 1987

Gulf of Alaska

14.

7.9

Nov. 3, 2002

Central Alaska

15.

7.8

March 26, 1872

Owens Valley, California

16.

7.8

Feb. 24, 1892

Imperial Valley, California

17.

7.8

Nov. 17, 2003

Rat Island, Alaska

18.

7.7

Dec. 16, 1811

New Madrid, Missouri area

19.

7.7

April 18, 1906

San Francisco, California

20.

7.7

Oct. 3, 1915

Pleasant Valley, Nevada

21.

7.6

Jan. 23, 1812

New Madrid, Missouri area

22.

7.6

June 28, 1992

Landers, California

23.

7.5

July 21, 1952

Kern County, California

24.

7.3

Nov. 4, 1927

West of Lompoc, California

25.

7.3

Dec. 16, 1954

Dixie Valley, Nevada

26.

7.3

Aug. 18, 1959

Hebgen Lake, Montana

27.

7.3

Oct. 28, 1983

Borah Peak, Idaho

(Staff Members of Pearson Education, 2014)

Around 50,000 earthquakes occur each year due to the shifting and adjustment of the tectonic plates of the earth. These earthquakes include some of the most devastating magnitude that release great amount of energy. The problem is that the knowledge of scientists is restricted to broadcast indications. They cannot go beyond these indications to indicate where this disaster will occur the next time. (Staff Members of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2007)

Earthquake preparedness and risk management or mitigation cannot be regarded as one of the common issues that public institutions confront. A number of reasons underlie the lack of adoption of earthquake risk mitigation strategies by both public and private institutions. One of the most common reason is the extensive costs that are associated with these strategies. As these strategies might lead towards the reconstruction of the storages or warehouses of the organizations that hold large amount of inventory, these organizations generally avoid adopting these strategies. (Staff Members of the California Seismic Safety Commission, 2010)

This research, therefore, aims at analyzing the risk and hazards associated with earthquakes. In addition to that, it will also put light on the earthquake risk mitigation strategies that are used by various organizations. Apart from that, the paper will also propose strategies that would further enhance the earthquake mitigation practices of public and private institutions. (Folger, 2013)

Earthquake Risks and Hazards

A number of recent studies have indicated that earthquakes are becoming increasingly damaging in the present era. One of the basic reason that underlie this increase in damage is the increase in population. Apart from that, the urbanization process and development of large number of buildings have also led towards an enhancement of the risks and damages that are caused by earthquakes. (Staff Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2000)

In addition to that, the older building stock, including the buildings that were built 20 years ago, are vulnerable to earthquakes and have the tendency to collapse due to the violet shaking of earth. Apart from that, the inability of the hospitals to function in an appropriate manner during the disaster is also one of the hazardous after effects of the disaster. (Staff Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2000)

The major triggers on which earthquake hazards depend are population density, structure of construction and emergency preparedness of the effected people. (Staff Members of New York City Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation, 2005) The section below lists down the basic risks that are associated with earthquakes.

The worst earthquake in history was witnessed by the city Shanghai. This earthquake killed around 830,000. The major factor behind such a great loss was high density of population. Earthquakes occurring in less populated areas do not cause such great loss. The number of deaths in the former case is quite greater than the number of deaths in the latter case. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

Even though the architecture and building codes can help the organization to mitigate the risks associated with earthquakes, but this not the case all the time. This is because the buildings with appropriate building and architecture codes fail to stand the earthquakes because of the low quality material and deployment of ineffective construction techniques. (Staff Members of Tulane University, 2013)

As the ground shakes violently during the area, therefore, lose sediments in the any area make it more vulnerable to earthquakes. Solid rock, on the other hand, is subjected to less intense shaking during an earthquake. So while designing a risk mitigation plan, the geological factors of an area shall also be kept under consideration. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

The ground rupture, during an earthquake, generally occur at the fault zones. The areas or constructions that exist on fault zones have a high probability to collapse during an earthquake as compared to the areas and constructions that are build adjacent to the fault zone but do not cross it. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

Another important risk factor that is associated with earthquakes is aftershocks. These are the smaller earthquakes that accompany the primary earthquake. These can be very dangerous as they may lead towards further collapses and can enhance the intensity of losses caused by an earthquake. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

Fire is another important factor that is triggered by earthquakes and can enhance the damage caused by these earthquakes. This is because during an earthquake power lines are generally knocked down. Furthermore, gas lines are also subjected to ruptures. In the 1906 earthquake in California, around 90% of the total damage was caused by the fire that was caused by the earthquake. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

In the mountainous areas, a major risk associated with earthquakes is landslides. As the ground shakes, rock and other debris fall from mountains. This secondary effect can also lead towards a number of other damages including, accidents and loss of human life. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

Tsunami is also one of the most dangerous secondary effects of earthquakes. It can be defined as the generation of large ocean waves. It is caused by the earthquakes that occur under the sea level or along the coastline. (Hosseini & Izadkhah, 2006)

Flooding is also a side effect of earthquake. It is generally caused by the rupture of dams that are made by human beings. These dams can be destroyed either by earthquakes or by resulting Tsunami. (Staff Members of Wisconsin Department Of Military Affairs Division Of Emergency Management, 2010)

Earthquake Risk Mitigation

Natural disaster mitigation consists of all the activities that are performed by public and private organizations with the aim of the reduction of the long-term hazards that the people might be required to confront after the disaster. These are sustained actions that aim at protecting people and property from the natural disasters and their after effects. Even though these activities can be quite costly in nature but their benefits exceed these costs. (Staff Members of Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010)

The following figure demonstrates the manner in which mitigation can be perceived globally:

(Rafeeqi, 2006)

Mitigation is an important element in the protection of lives during an earthquake and focuses on concrete goals and objectives. It can simply be defined as an activity that aims at reducing the risks associated with…[continue]

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