One of the most devastating natural disasters in the world is earthquakes, and they can occur in many different locations at various strengths. This week, an earthquake hit that will certainly go in the record books as one of the worst to have ever been recorded.
Reuters reports that the United States Geological Survey has upgraded the Pacific earthquake to an 8.9. According to MSNBC, the epicenter of the earthquake hit 81 miles east of Sendai, Japan, and has wreaked havoc for hundreds of miles. Over 200 bodies have been found in Sendai, and over 4 million people have lost power in Tokyo. It also caused a dam to break, which caused major flooding that has swept away cars and houses. This is the fifth strongest earthquake on record since 1900, and has devastated people all over the Pacific coast.
The USGS reports that the most deadly earthquake happened May 22, 1960, in Chile. This earthquake had a magnitude of 9.5 and there were about 1,655 killed; 3,000 injured; over 2,000,000 homeless; and it caused $550 million in damages. The earthquake also created a tsunami that caused 61 deaths and $75 million of damages in Hawaii. 138 deaths with $50 million in damages were reported in Japan and 32 people were reported dead or missing in the Philippines. It also cost $500,000 in damages to the west coast of the United States.
The USGS reported the second most-powerful earthquake happened March 28, 1964, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, with a magnitude of 9.2. The earthquake killed 113 people and then the tsunami came and killed 15 more. Over $311 million in property damage was reported and it affected many towns in Alaska. Some of those towns affected by this earthquake were Anchorage, Chitina, Glennallen, Homer, Hope, Kasilof, Kenai, Kodiak, and Moose Pass.
The USGS reports the third most-powerful earthquake was in Offshore Sumatra, Indonesia, on Dec. 26, 2004, and it was a magnitude 9.1. There were 227,898 people who were killed or missing and presumed dead after this earthquake. Approximately 1.7 million people were displaced by the earthquake. The tsunami affected people in 14 countries within south Asia and east Africa. This earthquake caused millions of dollars in damage and had one of the worst subsequent tsunamis in history.
As Japan works to recover from this horrific earthquake, they can take away several important lessons from past earthquakes. Japan will have a lot of help from surrounding countries and the United States, and they should accept all the help they can get. When horrible earthquakes have occurred in the past, it has taken millions of dollars to cleanup the mess and try to restore the buildings that were destroyed. Also, just like the three most powerful earthquakes in the past, it will take a lot of time for Japan to rebuild and cleanup. Japan needs to have patience as it waits for help and should also remember that it will take time to get everything back to normal again.
The most important thing Japan can do right now is begin searching for those lost or need rescued and medical attention. Japan will also have to keep an eye on the tsunami situation because they can occur days after the earthquake and can be really devastating, just like in Offshore Sumatra. Japan can also take away that these countries which were affected by earthquakes were able to get back on their feet again and have learned how to better prepare for the future. Right now, though, Japan needs to just focus on the safety of their people and get all those affected needed medical attention.
Reuters Staff, “UPDATE 3-USGS upgrades Japan quake to 8.9 magnitude”, Reuters
MSNBC Staff and Associated Press, “Hundreds dead after quake tsunami slam Japan”, MSNBC
USGS, “The Largest Earthquake in the World”
USGS, “Largest Earthquake in Alaska”
USGS, “Magnitude 9.1 – OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA”