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The Kobe Earthquake
Effects of the Earthquake
Why Did It Happen?
Effects of the Earthquake
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Primary and Secondary Effects of the Kobe Earthquake

Primary Effects:

The primary effects included nearly 200,000 buildings collapsing, along with the elevated Hanshin Expressway (see picture in Pictures), along with many bridges. Several bullet trains were de-railed, and 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe were destoryed. Thats over 2/3s of all of them!

Seconday Effects:

The secondary effects were much more numerous that the primary effects. These included many systems shutting down, i.e. electricity, gas, plumbing, etc. Fires (see Pictures section) that were started by broken gas pipes and broken electrical wires, spread through the city, rapidly destroying the many wooden houses. (appx. 7500 houses were destroyed) The fire was so great that there was a point when the wall of flame extended for 400+ meters!!!!
Other secondary effects included many blocked roads, delaying and stopping ambulances, fire engines, and other aid vehicles. Because of all the collapsed houses, about 230,000 people were left homeless. They had to camp out in unheated school gyms, or even outside in parks! There was a shortage of clean water, of blankets, and food.
The number of people that were homeless didn't decrease for days, even weeks, because people were afraid to go home because of the 716! aftershocks.
In the end, there were 5,500 dead, 40,000 injured, and 180,000 houses completely demolished. However, the Kansai airport and Akashi bridge were completely undamaged, because they were new and designed to withstand earthquakes.

In the months after the earthquake, Kobe picked itself up and began to work again. Industries that had been forced to close, like Mitsubishi or Panasonic, re-opened, and the public systems (telephones, electricity, gas, plumbing, etc.) were 100% working by July. The rubble had been cleared, and most of the buisness buildings in the central parts of Kobe had been fixed. All of the trains were working again by August. After a year, the port of Kobe was 80% functional. However, the Hanshin Expressway (see Pictures section) was still closed.

The people of Kobe learned from the catastrophe by improving the safety standards of their buildings, making sure they were made of BOTH earthquake-proof AND fire-proof materials, making sure that the buildings were built on solid rock, and ensuring that all houses and buildings would be able to absorb shocks well. Also, there were more seismographs and other machines installed in order to better keep track of how the earth was moving, so they would be better prepared next time.

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