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Earthquake dangers and community preparedness - Essay Example

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Name of Student: Title of Assignment: Instructor: Earthquake Dangers and Community Preparedness Introduction People and the environment continually suffer from the consequences of natural disasters which encompass volcanic activities, tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes - the focus of this paper - among others…
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Earthquake dangers and community preparedness
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Download file to see previous pages Adapted from Geography: earthquakes, by BBC, 2012, Retrieved 26 November 2012 from Copyright 2012 by Author. Reprinted with permission. A shift in these plates results in vibrations in the crust of the earth, a phenomenon referred to as earthquake. Patel and Revi (2010) define earthquake as a sudden movement of the crust of the earth due to volcanic activity or release of stress accumulated along faults. The logarithmic Richter scale measures the magnitude of earthquakes. The greatest magnitude measured to date has been 9.5 for an earthquake that rocked Chile, causing tsunamis and killing about 1,655 people injuring 3,000 others (US Department of the Interior, 2012). Dangers of earthquake to humans and the environment Indeed, these shifts of the earth’s crust referred to as earthquakes impact on ecosystems and habitats. The United Nations Environmental Program (2004) gives an example of the 1976 Sichuan earthquake that led to the loss of the habitat for the giant bear panda. The tsunamis that result from earthquakes could kill fish and other sea life with consequent disturbance of their habitat. For example, the 1964 Alskan earthquake uplifted the floor of the sea by 33 feet leading to destruction of calcareous marine organisms. Earthquakes destroy plant life. It is feared that in Northern California, a place of convergence of three tectonic plates, the occurrence of an earthquake would cause a massive loss of Redwood trees (Patel & Revi, 2010). As humans seek to construct temporary shelters, reconstruct and meet their energy needs, they could cause deforestation thus ecosystem depletion (BBC, 2012). Similarly, other risks such as quarrying for reconstruction could further negatively impact on the ecosystem. Wildlife also gets affected either directly or indirectly because of earthquakes. Some of these environmental effects of earthquakes affect human health. The waste disposal and debris resulting from an earthquake could negatively impact the environment and human health. The affected would have to look for appropriate ways of disposing off such waste so as to rebuild their structures. The aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan China earthquake saw agricultural fields turned into dumps with building materials (BBC, 2012). Water sources also got contaminated with the dumps. Therefore, it would be critical to ape Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts which after the 194 earthquake disposed off the rubbles appropriately (Patel & Revi, 2010). This would be important in seeking to lower contamination of the environment and disease to humans. Other than diseases, earthquakes could cause fires which burn down the assets of people, setting them back economically. In addition, the short term looting in the event of an earthquake would have similar devastative effects. Landslides could bury families under rubbles, with some bodies not being retrieved even after the disaster. The cost of rebuilding also adds to people’s financial burdens. Preparedness towards earthquake dangers The Seattle Office of Management (2012) suggests various ways to prepare one for an earthquake as an individual. The organization proposes anchoring of appliances and tall furniture that could fall. Homes should have emergency supplies known to every family member. The members should also have the necessary numbers handy to be used in case of separation ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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