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  • In August 2016, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous region of central Italy,

  • killing 292 people and displacing more than two thousand.

  • The picturesque towns were hit especially hard, as theyre made up of centuries-old

  • buildings only accessible by small, winding roads.

  • Roughly 20 major earthquakes occur every year, and while they always lead to some degree

  • of devastation, some regions are more uniquely equipped than others.

  • So, which countries are best able to withstand major earthquakes, and why?

  • Well to start, a major earthquake is defined as anything above 7.0 on the richter scale.

  • These seismic events have caused billions in damage and killed thousands of people,

  • but primarily as a result of poor infrastructure and inefficient response, rather than the

  • earth’s shaking.

  • That said, one country that is highly prepared is Chile, which has suffered 13 earthquakes

  • of magnitude 8 or above since 1906 - one of which was a 9.5 in 1960: the largest earthquake

  • ever recorded.

  • The country sits alongside the ring of fire, an area of the pacific ocean where roughly

  • 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur.

  • So to prepare for inevitable disaster, Chile has implemented regular earthquake emergency

  • drills, strict building codes and a comprehensive early warning system, including sirens and

  • mobile phone alerts.

  • The country also maintains a disaster relief agency, which regularly practices evacuations,

  • and trains rescue crews year-round.

  • As a result, Chile’s most recent 8.3 major quake in 2015 only saw 13 deaths, compared

  • to more than 1,600 in 1960 according to USGS.

  • Earthquake preparedness is not unusual for developed countries, however implementation

  • often slips through the cracks as a result of corruption and government negligence.

  • For instance, many builders find it cheaper to pay a bribe to a public official than to

  • comply with strict building codes.

  • But this is not a common practice in Chile, where people reportedly take the potential

  • threat of an earthquake very seriously.

  • .

  • Another country with exceptional earthquake preparedness is Japan, which, like Chile,

  • has a long and deadly history of frequent, major earthquakes.

  • All new buildings must be able to sway with the earth’s shaking, and many older buildings

  • have been retrofitted to do the same.

  • Even more advanced are Japanese homes, most of which have special foundations that fill

  • with compressed air when the earth shakes so that the home actually levitates.

  • In the likely event a major earthquake strikes, all bullet trains come to an immediate halt,

  • and TV channels switch to live coverage of relief efforts, including maps of coastal

  • areas that are at risk of tsunamis.

  • In 2007, Japan launched a nationwide earthquake warning system that detects tremors, determines

  • the quake’s epicenter and sends online warnings throughout the country.

  • It is considered the most advanced early-warning system in the world.

  • But not all small, fault-lining countries are so prepared.

  • In 2010, Haiti suffered a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, resulting in more than 150,000 deaths.

  • So why were they so unprepared?

  • In a word, money.

  • Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth, while Chile and Japan have strong economies

  • that are able to fund preparedness programs and emergency response measures, making a

  • major earthquake somewhat manageable.

  • In the end, when it comes to earthquakes, the greatest armor is wealth.

In August 2016, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous region of central Italy,

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Which Countries Can Survive Major Earthquakes?

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    BH posted on 2016/12/31
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