Vigilance saves lives: Building codes prevented destruction in Chilean quake
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/3/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Miracles do happen. Only six perished in a massive earthquake in northern Chile following an immense 8.2 earthquake and tsunami. Four of the deaths were attributed to heart attacks and only two were crushed by debris. The reason for this amazingly low fatality county is being credited to adherence on the part of Chile to strict building codes.
While there was major structural damage in the quakes, it's seen as a minor trade-off where many lives were spared.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "They're a seismically active region of the world and they are very good at implementing their building codes similar to California," John Bellini, a Denver-based geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey says.
"Because of that, you would see less damage than in other places that have poorer building codes . that's probably one of the reasons there haven't been as many casualties as there could have been from a magnitude earthquake of this size."
There was major structural damage in the quakes, which is seen as a minor trade-off where many lives were spared. More than 2,500 homes sustained serious structural damage in the region around the northern port city of Iquique. Most of the homes were built with poor workmanship through government subsidies.
A 7.6-magnitude aftershock struck the region late Wednesday. There was no immediate word on damage or injuries.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who toured the region, praised local authorities for responding in an "exemplary manner" to the disaster.
"This is a great example to all of us that when we work together in an adequate manner and we when we follow the plans that have been established in the region, we work well," Bachelet said.
One of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world, Chile sits on an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean known as the "Ring of Fire," according to Mark Simons, a geophysicist at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Since 1973, Chile has had more than a dozen quakes of magnitude-7.0 and above.
According to Simons, this week's quake occurred as the fault line along Chile's coast has constantly shifted in the last 140 years. In recent weeks, this area has seen a cluster of activity -- something like 50 to 100 smaller quakes. A 6.7- and a 6.1-magnitude quake struck last month.
"People are more familiar with them," Bellini says. "They, in general, know what to do as part of their daily lives, plus the building codes are fairly well-enforced in Chile. It's in their culture."
The importance of strict building codes was underscored when Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was hit by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in 2010 that leveled 70 percent of the Haitian capital's structures and killed at least 230,000 people.
"That's actually a perfect example of the differences in building codes and enforcement in two different regions," Bellini said. "Any place that has a magnitude 7 or an 8 is going to have some kind of damage. However, the building codes play a large part in the damage and destruction that is seen, as well as the casualty level. Population density plays an important part as well -- but the building codes are really what can save lives in areas that have large earthquakes."
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed. That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.
Juarez, located in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, was considered from 2008 to 2010 to be one of the the most dangerous cities ... continue reading
The Puerto Rican bishops' conference issued a message of hope to Puerto Ricans after Hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed much of the U.S. ... continue reading
Prayers for Puerto Rico - Residents without food, water or electricity as some facilities reopen Watch
The situation in Puerto Rico remains dire as the first shipments of food arrive. The island has been without power, or drinkable water ... continue reading
A series of earthquakes around the Ring of Fire has sparked curiosity. Except for a relatively tiny earthquake in Los Angeles on September ... continue reading
On Wednesday, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Mexico after they suffered a devastating earthquake Sept. 19, asking ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, November 27th, 2017 HD Video
- Bl. Miguel Pro: Saint of the Day for Thursday, November 23, 2017
- Deacon Keith Fournier on Thanksgiving Day and the Need to Return to God
- Daily Readings for Thursday, November 23, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 HD Video
- Priest: Adoration has made Juarez safer
- Quotes of the Saints - Five saints have a message for you on this ...
- Will 2018 be the year the Big One hits California? The news media makes a shocking claim HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, November 26th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, November 25th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, November 24th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way