What factors affect the social and economic impacts of an earthquake?

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Magnitude- an earthquake higher up the richter scale is more potent so more likely to cause economic damage and a higher death/ injury toll

Location- a natural disaster is defined as the overlapping of a natural hazard (in this case the earthquake) and a vulnerable population. If an earthquake where a vulnerable population is not present, then there will be no social impacts and very few, if any, economic impacts.

Population Density- an earthquake hitting an area with a high population density is most likely to cause severe social impacts as the death and injured toll will be higher

Infrastructure- this is key when looking at the impacts of an earthquake. Over 80% of deaths due to an earthquake are caused the collapse of infrastructure. If a building is earthquake proof, it will both protect the people inside it and those near it as it will not collapse. Better infrastructure also reduces economic implications as it does not require re-building.

Infrastructure is also very important when looking at the secondary impacts of an earthquake and the recovery of a nation. If the roads, railway and bridges were badly damaged then it is unlikely aid can reach the affected areas quickly thus exacerbating the social impacts.

Knowledge- if a population knows how to react to an earthquake, they can greatly reduce its repercussions. This involves earthquake drills and knowing how to act when tremors are felt and having a 3 day emergency supply of food and water.

Time of day- the time of day an earthquake strikes is very important in a populations ability to react and ensure safety. An earthquake that occurs overnight will catch people off guard and thus they may not be able to efficiently seek shelter. This is likely to increase the death toll.

Vulnerability of the population- earthquakes require swift reactions from the population to move. Young children or the elderly are often reliable upon others and thus more vulnerable in an earthquake situation.

Property Value- this is key when examining the economic implications of an earthquake. An earthquake striking on a key global city (e.g Tokyo) would cause billions dollars worth of damage. Whereas, this number would be far reduced if it struck a rural region. 

Michela C. GCSE Geography tutor, A Level Geography tutor, 13 Plus  Ge...

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