Day_123 : 1995 Kobe Earthquake victims (2)- Golden 72 hours

Day_76 gave you the following two inquiries on the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
1) Why were so many early 20’s victimized?
2) Which floor is more dangerous, 1st or 2nd?

Day_76 : 1995 Kobe Earthquake victims

The next question is what can you say about the following Figure 1?

Figure 1  Search & Rescue Operation Statistics

You can see the survival rate dramatically dropped after the 3 days, 72 hours. The experts say this 72 hours after the disaster, especially earthquake, is golden 72 hours. This is a well-known phrase even before the Kobe earthquake.

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Day_84 : Northridge and Kobe

The below is just a comparison between 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe earthquakes.

Northridge :January 17, at 4:30:55 a.m. PST, in 1994 (Mw6.7)
Kobe: January 17, at 05:46:53 JST in 1995(Mw6.9)

Death toll
Northridge: 57
Kobe: 6,434

Northridge: Property damage was estimated to be between $13 and $40 billion
Kobe: Around ten trillion yen – $100 billion – in damage, 2.5% of Japan’s GDP at the time.

Both earthquakes are in the costliest disasters (Overall losses) in the world (1980-2004) as you can see the below figure(Munich Re).


However, we need to notice the death toll’s huge gap between the two even if they happened almost at the same time on the same day with almost the same magnitudes. This tells us natural disaster is not “natural”. The earthquake itself does not kill people, it is just a natural phenomenon. We create “natural” disasters.

Day_76 : 1995 Kobe Earthquake victims

1995 Kobe Earthquake gives us a lot of lessons. Today I am going to give you the following two questions.
1) Why were so many early 20s victimized?
2) Which floor is more dangerous, 1st or 2nd?

1) Please look at the following picture. You can see the victims’ age distribution. Females and elderlies are more likely victimized because of their lack of physical strength. However, why did so many early 20s die? Yes, they were university students. There are many universities in Kobe. Students tended to be not so rich. They tended to stay on the 1st floor in wooden cheaper apartments.

kobe victims age distributions

2) You already know the answer. Of course, the first floor is more dangerous, especially in a wooden house. 1981 is the year in which the Japanese government set the building code. So the buildings, apartments, etc. built after the year tended not to be destroyed by the earthquake, including the Kobe earthquake.


Photo: Dr.Takashi Inokuchi

We should learn the lessons from the disaster, this is the way which we can do for the victims.

Day_58: Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) and Kobe Earthquake

ADRC is established in 1998 after the Kobe Earthquake. Kobe city’s population had caught up the same level before the disaster in 9 years. Kobe renovates themselves as a center of disaster reduction policies and activities in the World. There are so many disaster-related organizations in HAT Kobe. The HAT means “Happy and Active” and also “surprised” in Japanese. This is a good example to be referred for the disaster recovery process. We can learn the lessons from Kobe. ADRC contributes to disaster reduction policies and activities for member countries in Asia. We can check member countries disaster management systems, country reports, and others*. We also can confirm the update disasters on the ADRC’s website**.

*ADRC member countries information site.

** Disaster Information