Damage caused by earthquakes
Buildings topple over, killing many people, trapping others and making millions homeless. Bridges, dams, other structures and natural features are also damaged.
The supply of water, gas and electricity, and sewerage disposal are also disrupted. Water may become contaminated when the sewage seeps into the water supplies, bringing about many diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Spillage of toxic and radioactive chemicals may also occur.
Fires may break out. They may start if a quake ruptures gas or power lines.
Communications and transportations may be lost, hampering the rescue teams and ambulances. This may lead to an increased amount of casualties because the injured are not able to be treated immediately.
Other hazards include rockfalls, ground settling and falling trees and branches. Fault slippage, which is the shifting of rocks on either side of a fault, may trigger landslides or break down the banks of rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, causing flooding in certain areas.
Tsunamis are also triggered. These huge destructive waves, which move at average speeds of 800 to 970 kilometres per hour and build to heights of more then 30 metres, are able to flood large coastal areas, destroying them. Many die from drowning in the floods whilst others are made homeless.
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