Effects and responses of earthquakes

Effects

The effect of an earthquake is the damage which happens as a result of the earthquake. The effects of an earthquake can vary depending on:

  • The size of the earthquake on the Richter scale - the higher it is on the scale, the more destruction it can cause.
  • Level of development - whether it occurs in a rich or a poor country. Richer countries will be more likely to be able to predict, protect and prepare themselves from the effects of an earthquake.
  • The depth of the focus - if it's shallow, it can be more destructive.
  • Distance from epicentre - the effects of an earthquake are more severe at its centre.
  • Population density - the more people living in an area, the more likely that more deaths and casualties may arise.
  • The time of day - whether people are in their homes, work or travelling.
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We can classify the effects of an earthquake into the following categories:
  • primary effects - things that happen immediately as a result of an earthquake
  • secondary effects - things that happen in the hours, days and weeks after the initial earthquake

Responses

Responses are how countries react to an earthquake. They are categorised as follows:

  • Short-term or immediate - a response in the days and weeks immediately after a disaster has happened. Short-term responses mainly involve search and rescue and helping the injured.
  • Long-term - responses that go on for months and years after a disaster. It involves rebuilding destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, etc. It also involves kick-starting the local economy.