Thursday, 28 April 2011

World at risk. Earthquakes and Megacities

This fantastic map shows the earthquake risk or regions around the world, the relative size of a countries population and the location and size of megacities. Reproduced here from a blog i follow:

The blog is called "Views of the world" and is a collection of very interesting and unique maps. This one clearly shows that certain cities are at high risk:

The city sizes are based on 2015 estimations by the UN, some regions are well known, such as LA, overdue for its next "big one", Istanbul with its notable seismic gap, and earthquakes recently working their way up the North Anatolian Fault. Some are more surprising. Bogota is at rick, according to a recent poll by LaPatria, a Columbian newspaper, 95% of buildings do not follow earthquake proof standards, and the region has experienced rapid urbanisation over the last 50 years. There have been significant quakes before in Columbia, in 1785, an earthquake lasting 4 minutes struck Bogota, the last significant quake was January 1999 with a magnitude 6.4. As a country, Columbia sits between the North and South, and the currently most successful economic region in the world, Latin America.

Mexico City is well understood, and with the Torre Major, and the other earthquake proof measures put in place since the 1985 quake, stands to be well prepared, can the same be said for Tehran, Baghdad and Kabul? Regions of conflict, with many other priorities for public funding. An earthquake in any one of these regions would be devastating. The last major earthquake to strike Lima was in 2007, measuring magnitude 7.9, but quakes on this boundary are regular, Chile has had 13 over magnitude 7 since 1973.

Perhaps Jakarta is the most prepared, this article discusses how prepared the city is following the devastating Japanese Earthquake, with the city council claiming it could withstand up to a magnitude 8, though some buildings were lower. With a population already approaching 10 million, lets hope this claim is never tested.

One point to take away, the earthquake in Japan has prompted worldwide reviews of where is at risk, and how prepared they are, and this can only be a good thing for future safety, especially as it not necessarily the most well designed building, or deepest foundations that save lives, but instead it is education, evacuation plans and early warning, where most countries are no focusing significant amounts  of time and money.

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