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Italy earthquake death toll rises to 247

12 Comments
By PAOLO SANTALUCIA, FRANCES D'EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD

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12 Comments
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Apart from the tragic loss of life any disaster almost anywhere in Italy will destroy some historical treasure or object of beauty. It's a tragedy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

These olds towns are not suit for any kind of earthquake. There is always deads even for the smallest one.

Those are so rare we actually forgot those can happen.

We all pray for the families down there and for there is not another earthquake anytime soon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My deepest condolences go out to the people of Italy. Our hearts are with you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So much damage for such a small quake. The third world villages in first world countries must catch up.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Poor people. It's one thing to have an earthquake in Japan, where we're used to it, and our infrastructure is built to handle some fairly significant shaking. It's another thing to have an earthquake in a country where they have no experience in the matter, and their infrastructure collapses.

RIP to the victims.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"hese olds towns are not suit for any kind of earthquake. "

Just for perspective, the 2011 quake was 9.0 and killed approximately 300--600 people, estimated. The Richter scale is logarithmic, which means that the 9.0 quake is 1000 times as strong as the 6.2 quake. If buildings in Tohoku were built to these Italian standards, one could say that 135,000 people would have died in Tohoku. It is probably more accurate to say that if Italian buildings were built to Japanese standards, maybe nobody would have died (I think recent 6.0 quakes in Japan have actually produced 0--2 deaths?).

Thanks Japan building codes! And my condolences to those affected by this quake, for which they were not prepared. It must have been horrible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's times like these that you really appreciate the efforts made in Tokyo to earthquake-proof most buildings

0 ( +1 / -1 )

True, Speed, but the '11 quake epicenter was far offshore (about 70km from the nearest land) and very deep (30km). A better comparison is the 6.5 we had here in Kumamoto two days before the 7.2, both with epicenters under populated areas and depths of 10km. The point about the logarithmic scale is best understood by experience: the 6.5 was enough to jolt me of the sofa (it was 9:15 PM and I was napping); the 7.2 was enough to bring down some neighborhood houses. One literally cannot stand.

Tragedy, yes. Retrofitting should be done where possible. Mostly, though, these older towns are simply at the mercy of nature. As someone in Mashiki said after the big one, "We knew eventually it would come; we just didn't think it would be during our generation."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Laguna. A 7.2. Yeah. You have a good story, but I think I have you beat. In Miyagi, we had the 9.0, we then had three aftershocks over 7.0, then 60 quakes stronger than 6.0 and then something like 900-several thousand other aftershocks depending on whom you trust to have measured the smaller quakes. I think the "one cannot stand" explanation fits a 7.2 pretty well. For me, the 9.0 was like being on a trampoline with a sumo wrestler. Anyway, I would bet that there are 16,000 people who would have rather had your 7.2 right under them than a 9.0 a little further away.

And yes. I was present for every one of them. The largest (maybe) aftershock, which was in mid April, and it hit just as I was watching Bridge on the River Kwai. Kabooom!

But see, here is another interesting bit. Not only did the Japanese structures only rarely collapse in the big quake, but few weakened structures were collapsed by the follow-on quakes. And as noted, there were more than 50 of those things coming through Tohoku like freight trains the whole week afterward.

So I am not merely sympathetic to these Italian people. I know how bad it can get. I empathize. Sounds like they are lucky to be alive after only a "weak" quake like that. They will want explanations.

Another something in relation to Mashiki's comment. At our neighborhood association, a local seismologist gave a talk on the fault just weeks before the quake. You will find all manner of opinions after the fact, of course, but there were people who "expected it" and those who admit they never did. Nobody bet on it. That is for sure. I suspect that Tepco went from ignorance, to denial, to hope, and then to disappointment... or something like that. But denial did not take too much effort, as Mashiki might agree. People who "predicted" it did so much more loudly after 3.11 than before.

And of course the terrible part of human nature is that we prepare AFTER something has happened. Recently, people in our area are starting to complain about too many drills, and earthquake preparedness budgets are being spent to make sure that there is sufficient shelter and food..... for pets. What fools these mortals be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor people. It's one thing to have an earthquake in Japan, where we're used to it, and our infrastructure is built to handle some fairly significant shaking. It's another thing to have an earthquake in a country where they have no experience in the matter, and their infrastructure collapses.

Best to read up on Italy being earthquake-prone. Google is your friend. The Italian authorities need to get their infrastructure up to standards, Don't tell me they don't know their country sits on/near crucial fault line?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@maglev101

The Italian authorities need to get their infrastructure up to standards

I think construction standards have improved a lot over the last 50 years or so. (I can't say whether they are implemented properly or not.) But unlike Japan, there are many very old buildings in Italy. (But I did see some reports that buildings built in the 1700s managed better than some built in the 1970s.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many of the newer structures in the villages survived well due to improved building codes. The older buildings are made of brick, slate and tile which is surprisingly resilient until the movement goes too far. Past the point of no return brick structures collapse catastrophically. And of course the constant aftershocks aren't helping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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