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Geography

Earthquakes

Factors affecting the impact of an earthquake

  • Distance from the epicentre [epicentre: The point on the Earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake. ] - the effects of an earthquake are more severe at its centre.
  • The higher on the Richter scale, the more severe the earthquake is.
  • Level of development (MEDC [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] or LEDC [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ]) - MEDCs are more likely to have the resources and technology for monitoring, prediction and response.
  • Population density (rural or urban area). The more densely populated an area, the more likely there are to be deaths and casualties.
  • Communication - accessibility for rescue teams.
  • Time of day influences whether people are in their homes, at work or travelling. A severe earthquake at rush hour in a densely populated urban area could have devastating effects.
  • The time of year and climate will influence survival rates and the rate at which disease can spread.

Earthquakes and volcanoes in LEDCs

LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] often suffer more from the effects of volcanoes and earthquakes than MEDCs [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ].

The effects of an earthquake or a volcano in LEDCs

  • Communication systems may be underdeveloped, so the population may not be well educated about what to do in the event of a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.
  • Construction standards tend to be poor in LEDCs. Homes and other buildings may suffer serious damage when a disaster occurs.
  • Buildings collapsing can cause high death tolls.
  • Evacuation and other emergency plans can be difficult to put into action due to limited funds and resources.
  • Clearing up can be difficult. There may not be enough money to rebuild homes quickly and safely. Many people could be forced to live in emergency housing or refugee camps.

Back to Natural hazards index

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