2014
  • Non-ICIMOD Publication
No Cover Photo

Comparison of Two Large Earthquakes in China: The 2008 Sichuan Wenchuan Earthquake and the 2013 Sichuan Lushan Earthquake

  • Yang, J.
  • Chen, J.
  • Liu, H.
  • Zheng, J.

Over a period of 5 years, two large earthquakes struck Sichuan Wenchuan and Lushan successively. The two main seismic zones are only 87 km apart along the same seismic belt on the Longmenshan fault. Although there was only one magnitude of difference between the two great quakes, losses from the 2013 Lushan Earthquake were much lower than that of 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. This study compares these disasters in terms of preparation and response in order to develop effective ways to reduce casualty and economic loss in future earthquakes. By determining what was done right after the Wenchuan Earthquake, we can better understand how to reduce future losses. This study focuses on seven factors: basic information, preparedness, government response, local residents’ responses, medical rescue teams’ work, earthquake-induced secondary effects, and injury character. We also recommend that three major actions should be emphasized to facilitate the most effective course of disaster planning and action. First, sufficient preparedness and strict preventive measures form the foundation to minimize damage and reduce casualties. Once the disaster had occurred, a single, well-run headquarters increases efficiency in rescue efforts. Finally, local rescue strength of both professional staff and citizens is the most critical factor to lower disaster casualties.

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