In Japan, nearly 20,000 people died in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The tragic aftermath struck home in the Pacific Northwest, which faces a similar risk from the Cascadia subduction zone. But we often forget the silver lining. In Japan, there were nearly 200,000 people in the inundation zones, so 90 percent of the people effectively evacuated those areas before the tsunamis arrived.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other natural disasters strike with little or no warning. By developing new computer tools to evaluate buildings, utility networks and other infrastructure, Oregon State is helping communities to reduce damage and speed recovery.
As an epidemiologist, Jeff Bethel understands the vital role of public health in saving lives after a natural disaster. Most at risk, he says, are vulnerable populations — migrant laborers and people who live alone or have chronic illnesses.
Professor Scott Ashford has seen the consequences of “megathrust” quakes in Chile, Japan and New Zealand: buildings and bridges tilted and broken like toys, beachfront tourist towns reduced to rubble, pipelines squeezed out of the ground like toothpaste out of a tube, businesses closed or forced to relocate.
Bob Yeats has spent his career preparing people for the possible: a catastrophic earthquake
On January 26, Oregonians will participate in the state’s first Oregon ShakeOut to raise earthquake awareness. What they learn could save lives when the next Big One hits.