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The Kobe Earthquake Why Didd Mrs Endo Die?

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    On the 17th of January 1995, a great earthquake struck the Japanese city of Kobe at 5:40 am. Over 80% of the quake victims died together with Mrs Endo, her husband, however, did not! There are numerous reasons why, the aim of this essay is to explain them to you. The earthquake started due to the fact that Kobe is situated among 3 of the Earth’s tectonic plates (The Eurasian, the Pacific and the Philippine plates). Stress had been strengthening in the rocks of the Philippine and pacific plates, once this stress was released, shock waves travelled through the Earth’s crust.

    This resulted in mass destruction in the form of ‘The Kobe Earthquake’ (Which reached 7. 2 on the Richter scale! ) And was the worst recorded disaster for Japan since World War 2. If you remember correctly the earthquake took place at 5:40 a. m. so most people would have been in mid-slumber, which would’ve delayed their reactions, consequently trapping them inside. This was the case for Mrs. Endo and Mr. Endo, yet one of them survived. Unfortunately, this is because they were not sharing the same room at the specific period of time, in fact Mr.

    Endo was staying with their son Kazuo in his modern apartment (a key fact being the modern apartment) whilst Mrs. Endo was in their house in the older residential part of Kobe called Nishinomiya. Mrs. Endo was trapped inside her house alone, a house which was built before the 1960’s. This period was the time that Japan was frequently plagued by typhoons, so the roof tiles were built by using heavy concrete to avoid them being blown away. Also during that time their houses were made with wooden frames (causing high flammability and poor strength/stability. The Quake caused the building she was in to collapse around her, entombing her under the heavy concrete roof. Sadly Mrs. Endo suffocated, after being trapped for 36 hours.

    She could’ve survived if help was bought to her at the time of the accident, but havoc was being wrecked all across the city. During the tremor several hospitals in Kobe collapsed and underground water pipes burst before many of the fire fighters could put them to good use. Also, since large areas of Kobe were blacked out, the search for survivors was on foot (made increasingly hard due to the smoke from the fires! Ambulances and rescue engines were unable to reach damaged areas because of the remains of bridges scattered across the road, blocking anyone from help. *The government were barley notified until the early hours of the next morning the prime minister at that time (Tomiichi Murayama) had ordered the creation of an emergency committee to handle the effects of the quake and sent troops to help the rescue operation. Going back to the Endo’s, Mr. Endo had been staying with his son; the building they were in was built quake proof (as were all buildings in Japan since 1981) so they were hardly damaged!

    Kazuo, Helped by friends, found his mother’s body at 1:20 p. m. on the 19th January, 48 hour after her sad demise. *The earthquake proved to be a major wake-up call for Japanese disaster prevention authorities. Japan installed rubber blocks under bridges to absorb the shock and rebuilt buildings further apart to avoid them falling like dominoes. The standard quake proof house works by using rubber suspensions which are flexible and strong enough to support the buildings and avert them from crashing.

    Also they possess shock absorbers underneath the foundations of the houses to control the buildings movement which will prevent additional damage. Over all, Mrs. Endo died because her house was equipped for the wrong type of natural disaster, she may have survived if nearly the whole of Kobe wasn’t suffering from the same extensive damage that prevented the emergency services from reaching her. However, her death was not in vain, the tragedy alerted the authorities to the consequences of earthquakes which will allow them to prevent the loss of life in the future.

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