Mitigation of Earthquakes

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Abstract

An earthquake can be described as natural phenomena that cause shaking or trembling of the earth’s surface. Earthquakes cause lots of damage to property and even result in deaths. The destruction caused by an earthquake depends on the magnitude and the depth at which it occurs. Earthquakes have been experienced in various parts of the world including Haiti, Japan and New Zealand among others. An earthquake cannot be prevented from happening as it is a natural occurrence; however, its damages can be reduced by taking inhibition measures. This paper seeks to deal with how earthquakes can be mitigated and the obstacles facing measures mitigation.

Introduction

Most of the disasters faced by man in today’s world are attributed to the rapid growth in population especially in the cities. Normally, the cities expansion is unplanned which makes it prone to natural and manmade risk disasters like earthquakes and landslides. Most of the natural disasters may not be avoided but its consequences can be minimized. Urban sprawl can be avoided; early warning systems developed and planned disaster management strategies put in place (The Effects of Disasters on Modern Societies: World Conference on Nauiral Disaster Reduction, 1995).

Impediments for disaster prevention in megacities

One of the obstacles to disasters prevention in megacities is implementation of policies. Implementation of disaster management measures in megacities have not been put in place due to political, social and economic obstacles. Prevention is seen as costly and does not go hand in hand with economic development goals. In addition, where there are already scarce economic resources to meet human needs, risk mitigation become the least national priority (The Effects of Disasters on Modern Societies: World Conference on Nauiral Disaster Reduction, 1995).

Rapid population growth is another hindrance to disaster mitigation measures in megacities. The available social amenities in the city are strained, thus unplanned construction projects take place in order to accommodate the ever rising population. Normally, these project developers do not consider environmental constraints and as a result new hazards may be caused and existing ones triggered (The Effects of Disasters on Modern Societies: World Conference on Nauiral Disaster Reduction, 1995).

Also, poverty increases disaster occurrence and the reverse is also true. In most developing countries, urban sprawl is attributed to poor development policies unlike the developed countries where such is because of industrialization. The slum areas are the most populated in such cities with use of poor technology in construction. This renders the city vulnerable to disasters as the carrying capacity of the natural environment cannot support the urban growth (The Effects of Disasters on Modern Societies: World Conference on Nauiral Disaster Reduction, 1995).

Strategies for addressing barriers to disaster prevention

Disaster preparedness: this involves the early warning systems being put in place so as to predict and allow the people to avoid the disaster before it strikes. It is normally done prior to a foreseen disaster. Regions like Japan that have been hit by earthquake have put these measures in place (Mitchell, 1999).

Sustainable urban planning: this is the adoption of high technology in building codes as seen in Haiti where constructions of buildings that can resist earthquake have been built. By adopting quality building codes, the local planning authorities have the opportunity of curbing the future natural disasters (Mitchell, 1999).

Adopting sustainable development in disaster prevention: non-technological alternatives provide the best opportunities in mitigation of natural hazards thus alternatives should be provided (Mitchell, 1999).

Conclusion

Lives of many people are disrupted by natural catastrophes such as earthquakes through displacement, livelihood and property damage, injuries and even death. Prevention is a responsibility to all citizens of a regions affected by earthquakes. In order to attain sustainable prevention strategies, it is necessary to devote all efforts to prevention measures such as prevention education and disaster preparedness. The government policies and programs that prevent natural disasters from recurring should be made and implemented.

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