Earthquakes. Why Some Places Suffer More Than Others.

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Earthquakes: Why do some places suffer more than others?

Whilst earthquakes are perhaps the most frequently occurring natural hazard, their impact on people, property and communities varies enormously from one place to another. It is possible to identify a number of factors that cause some places to suffer more than others. Whilst some are large scale and are to do with tectonic location, others are decided at a much more local scale, and relate to building design and levels of preparedness.
Perhaps the most significant factor determining why some places suffer more than others is the tectonic location of an area. The distribution of earthquakes is commonly linked to the margins of global plates. Whilst the assertion that earthquakes
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People are often informed about potential dangers, and how to respond when earthquakes do occur. Furthermore, emergency services regularly practice their response procedures, so in the event of an earthquake the reaction is as smooth as possible. Typically, supplies of food, water, medicines and shelter are also stored in recognised safe areas ready for coping with the aftermath of an earthquake. Education and preparation are undoubtedly factors in reducing the scale of a disaster, particularly regarding the response after the event in terms of rescuing injured people and preventing the spread of disease. However, even the best laid plans can fail to live up to expectations. This was exemplified with the Kobe earthquake, when emergency teams reacted slowly, and appeared to be totally overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. Poorer countries tend to be less aptly prepared. Whilst this is due in part to the lack of money to invest in materials and educational programmes, it is also because earthquakes are often perceived as infrequent problems in a society facing daily struggles for survival of a much more mundane nature.
The geology of an area is further decisive in the ultimate significance a quake will have. Typically, areas of soft clays and silts are likely to succumb to liquefaction during a quake. Harder and more solid

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