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Are the social impacts of an earthquake more important than the economic impacts?

This case study will explore evidence in favour and against and then come to a overall conclusion based on the evidence to answer the question of should we spend more money on social impacts of an earthquake or the economic impacts of an earthquake.

An earthquake is the sometimes violent shaking of the ground caused by movements of Earth's tectonic plates. Most earthquakes occur along fault lines, which is where two tectonic plates come together. Earthquakes strike suddenly and violently and can occur at any time, day or night, throughout the year. Smaller earthquakes might crack some windows and shake products off store shelves, but larger earthquakes can cause death and massive destruction, devastating communities and tend to weaken local economies.

Arguments for the economic impacts of an earthquake.

The earthquake hazard poses the most serious intermediate term risk to the health, safety, and economic viability of many parts of the United States and throughout the world. Recent earthquakes demonstrated the risks to modern industrial societies from such sudden event, affecting everything from massive loss of life, infrastructure damage, and financial instability. Much larger earthquakes can be expected to occur adjacent to many metropolitan regions in the United States. Some analysts have predicted that the earthquake could prevent Chile’s economy from growing during 2010. Initially, economists had been forecasting growth of 5.5% this year, and Pinero had promised to increase growth through a forceful governmental program. Early estimates indicate that the damages caused by the earthquake could cost Chile about 30 billion, the equivalent of 15% of its GDP (gross domestic product), but in Montes’ opinion, that figure could wind up being even higher. This source is reliable because economists are focusing on the improvement of Chile’s economy and how they are developing so the reason why it is reliable is because they have a more clear understanding. In contrast, Mafias Braun, professor of financial markets and economic development at the Adolfo Ibanez University’s business school, has a less worried view of the financial cost of the earthquake. “Although the losses generated by the catastrophe are quite significant, generally speaking, people are exaggerating the toll,” Rafael Romero, professor of corporate finance and business valuation at the Adolfo Ibanez University’s business school, agrees with Braun’s projections. Romero notes that “rebuilding is necessary, which means that economic activity should soar, leading to growth in construction activity and investments in public works. Financial markets have already reacted by showing increases in the prices of companies involved in construction and inputs for construction, such as cement producers.” The best examples of that upward trend in prices include Cementos Melon, which experienced a gain of 251% in its share price on the Santiago stock exchange in recent days, and Grupo Polpaico (which rose 44%), one of the country’s leading manufacturers of cement and concrete. Shops and business may be destroyed, Looting may take place. The damage to transport and communication links can make trade difficult. The cost of rebuilding a settlement is high. Investment in the area may be focused only on repairing the damage caused by the earthquake. This source of evidence is from the website noted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/natural_hazards/earthquakes_rev3.shtml. The website is reliable because it is written by an accredited organization and so is considered to be more trusted.

Arguments for the social impacts of an earthquake.

Earthquakes can destroy settlements and kill many people. Aftershocks can cause even more damage to an area. People may be killed or injured. Homes may be destroyed. Transport and communication links may be disrupted. Water pipes may burst and water supplies may be contaminated. Over 220,000 deaths happen in this situation. The majority of the deaths are caused by building collapse in earthquakes, and the great majority occurs in the developing world. This is despite the fact that engineering solutions exist that can almost completely eliminate the risk of such deaths. An example of the major effect an earthquake has left is the Sichuan Earthquake in china. The earthquake caused massive infrastructure damages hence affecting China’s economical development. It is estimated that a total amount of direct economic losses caused by the earthquake is at 52309 million. As a result, a huge amount of money that could be used to improve other aspects of China now had to be pumped into rebuilding the properties, therefore slowing down the economic development of China. Also, the earthquake actually brought down the tourism as people will not go there since the place will be filled with chaos, debris and corpses. During the quake, a large number of schools collapsed and a lot of houses were destroyed, leaving about 4.8 million of people homeless. Moreover farms and crops are also destroyed and since villagers depend on their farms for living, when the farms are destroyed, they lost their main source of income causing them to fall into poverty. The important of earthquake forecast is usually unconscious desalination. Many people directly experiencing a major natural disaster such as an earthquake experience psychosocial effects - both individual psychological effects impacting on how people feel and social effects impacting on how they relate to each other. Indeed, such effects are inevitable and a normal part of human psychology. However, there is considerable variation in individual and social responses. Nevertheless, it is fair to state that the “potential exists for the emotional effects of disaster to cause as great a degree of suffering as do the physical effects such as injury, destruction of infrastructure and loss of income.” This was quoted by the prime minister's chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman. This is a reliable source because it was written for The Press (a type of newspaper) which informs readers without being bias.

Comparison of reasons

The arguments for the economic side of the earthquake have a lot of evidence and data showing how much of the land has been destroyed and how important rebuilding is. However the social side of an earthquake also have a lot of evidence and data proved that so many lives have been destroyed, poverty is increasing and how many people’s homes have been shattered. This case study gives us a clear overlook on how much an earthquake can create and the vast amount of impacts it leaves on the whole country or area.

Overall conclusion

From reading the evidence, I think it is very important that we focus on both sides of the argument; the economic side of things and the social side of things. I do agree with the fact that the damages an earthquake can create is very hard to re-build again. so overall I think without the economic sides being fixed up then there is no way that the social side of things would improve because if the schools aren’t built then education is missed out, if factories and buildings are broken down the there will be no jobs and without jobs then people will suffer and live life in poverty which is a major crises all around the world, which people want to cut down.

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