Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chile Earthquake Statistics

Article from the SALT LAKE COUNTY A.R.E.S. INC newsletter, April 2011
by Richard Jorgensen

On March 12, 2011, the world’s most earthquake prepared nation, Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami. At present the death toll stands at approximately 27,000 people deceased or disappeared. As recovery efforts are still ongoing it more than likely that this extreme number will rise.  The earthquake and subsequent tsunami has caused the local officials here to re-evaluate their level of preparedness along the Wasatch fault.

On February 27, 2010 the country of Chile experienced an 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. I would like to share with you some statistics from that event so that you can better evaluate your level of preparedness.

Area effected:                                                            Approximately 1200 miles by 200 miles.
Homes damaged beyond repair:                            438,296
Average days to restore electricity:                        12 days -16 days to the most severely damaged areas
Average days to restore cell phone service:          9 days
Average days to restore potable water:                 26 days.
More than 90 days in the most severely damaged areas. In perspective that means more than 90 days to flush the toilet or to have a decent shower…
Average days to get in relief supplies and help:    6 days
Municipal buildings destroyed:                               10397 the biggest number being schools
Average age of a destroyed school:                       27 years
Hospitals damaged:                                                 41 Hospitals
Hospitals damaged / cannot be occupied             18 Hospitals
Average age of the destroyed hospitals:               33 years

All hospitals are municipal buildings. What we refer to as private for profit hospitals are called clinics.
Clinics damaged:                                                     22 clinics
Clinics damaged / cannot be occupied:                7 clinics
Average age of a destroyed clinic:                       12 yearsTotal of 4249 hospital beds were destroyed by the earthquake.
Number of incidents of liquid faction:                    31546 - this includes minor flooding caused by
subterranean water coming to the surface.
Smallest wave of the resulting tsunami:                4.5 meters tall. Largest wave 30 meters tall.
Cargo ships destroyed:                                          528 ships
Damaged streets, bridges and airports:              1716
Average rise in the earth:                                        2.91 meters - This means that most cities in the
earthquake area are now 2.91 meters higher than they were before the quake. Average lateral movement: 2.28 meters.
Aftershocks in a 1yr period greater than a 4.0:      1426 aftershocks
Cost of reconstruction:                                            61 Billion US$

The point of the above stats is to make us all aware of the potential damage that can occur here in along the Wasatch Front. We have more un-reinforced masonry buildings here in the Salt Lake Valley than ever existed in the affected area in Chile.

It has been several hundred of years since our last major earthquake. Chile experienced a 9.4 earthquake in 1960 in the same area as the earthquake of 2010. Building codes are much stricter there than here. However, any earthquake does not respect the rights of people. It affects everyone; it does not matter if your home is more than one hundred years old or if it is new. The newest homes destroyed in Chile were less than six months old and were built to the highest earthquake standards. Some buildings were damaged and destroyed while a building less than 10 meters away was left undamaged. The biggest evidence of the earthquake is all of the fences that fell during the shaking.

While FEMA states they can be here in three days it may be more than a week before there is any sense of normality after an earthquake. It may take you a week before you are allowed to return to your home if you are away when the earthquake happens. Be prepared for the worse and always hope for the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment