作者:未知 来源:未知 2015-04-30 我要评论( )

Experts gathered in Nepal a week ago to ready for earthquake


Nepal's devastating earthquake was the disaster experts knew was coming.


Just a week ago, about 50 earthquake and social scientists from around the world came to Kathmandu, Nepal, to figure out how to get this poor, congested, overdeveloped, shoddily built area to prepare better for the big one, a repeat of the 1934 temblor that leveled this city. They knew they were racing the clock, but they didn't know when what they feared would strike.


"It was sort of a nightmare waiting to happen," said seismologist James Jackson, head of the earth sciences department at the University of Cambridge in England. "Physically and geologically what happened is exactly what we thought would happen."

“有点像迟早会成真的噩梦,”英国剑桥大学地球科学系主任、地震学家詹姆斯•杰克逊(James Jackson)说,“从物理学和地质学的角度来说,发生的事情完全在我们的预料之中。”

But he didn't expect the massive quake that struck Saturday to happen so soon. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed more than 1,900 and counting and caused widespread destruction.


"I was walking through that very area where that earthquake was and I thought at the very time that the area was heading for trouble," said Jackson, lead scientist for Earthquakes Without Frontiers, a group that tries to make Asia more able to bounce back from these disasters and was having the meeting.


A Kathmandu earthquake has long been feared, not just because of the natural seismic fault, but because of the local, more human conditions that make it worse.


The same size shaking can have bigger effects on different parts of the globe because of building construction and population and that's something the U.S. Geological Survey calculates ahead of time. So the same level of severe shaking would cause 10 to 30 people to die per million residents in California, but 1,000 maybe more in Nepal, and up to 10,000 in parts of Pakistan, India, Iran and China, said USGS seismologist David Wald.

同样面积的震动会因为房屋建筑和人口稠密给全球的一些地方带来更大的影响。这一点是美国地质勘探局很早之前计算出来的。因此,勘探局的地震学家大卫·瓦尔德(David Wald)说,同样程度的强震,如果发生在加利福尼亚,每一百万人会有10-30人丧生,而在尼泊尔,可能导致1000人遇难,在巴基斯坦、印度、伊朗和中国的一些地方,可能会造成多达一万人死亡。

While the trigger of the disaster is natural — an earthquake — "the consequences are very much man-made," Jackson said. Except for landslides, which in this case are a serious problem, "it's buildings that kill people not earthquakes," Jackson said. If you lived in a flat desert with no water, an earthquake wouldn't harm you, but then few people want to live there.


"The real problem in Asia is how people have concentrated in dangerous places," Jackson said.


Kathmandu was warned, first by the Earth itself: this is the fifth significant quake there in the last 205 years, including the massive 1934 one.


"They knew they had a problem but it was so large they didn't where to start, how to start," said Hari Kumar, southeast Asia regional coordinator for GeoHazards International, a group that works on worldwide quake risks. Kumar, Jackson and Wald said Nepal was making progress on reducing its vulnerability to earthquakes, but not quickly or big enough.

国家自然灾害防制组织(一个致力于研究世界地震风险的组织)东南亚地区事务协调员哈里·库马尔(Hari Kumar)说:“他们知道自己的问题,但正因为问题太大,他们不知从何着手,如何着手。”库马尔、杰克逊和瓦尔德说,尼泊尔有在努力提高自身对地震的抵抗力,但效果不太明显,还需要些日子。

Kumar's group on April 12 updated a late 1990s report summarizing the Kathmandu Valley risks.


"With an annual population growth rate of 6.5 percent and one of the highest urban densities in the world, the 1.5 million people living in the Kathmandu Valley were clearly facing a serious and growing earthquake risk," the report said, laying out "the problem" the valley faces. "It was also clear that the next large earthquake to strike near the Valley would cause significantly greater loss of life, structural damage, and economic hardship than past earthquakes had inflicted."


And for years there were no building codes and rampant development so homes and other structures could be built without any regards to earthquakes, the report said. There are now building codes, but that doesn't help the older structures, and the codes aren't overly strong, Kumar said.


It's actually even made worse because of local inheritance laws that require property be split equally among all sons, Jackson said. So that means buildings are split vertically among brothers making very thin rickety homes that need more space so people add insecure living space on additional floors, he said.


"The construction is appalling in Kathmandu," Jackson said.


Poverty and pollution make the problem worse, Jackson said. That's because people don't spend time worrying about some future earthquake because they have more pressing problems.


"If you live in the Kathmandu Valley you have other priorities, daily threats and daily nasty things happen to you in terms of air quality, water quality, pollution, traffic and just poverty," Jackson said. "But it doesn't mean that the earthquakes go away."



seismologist [saiz'mɔlədʒist, sais-]
n. 地震学家

seismic ['saizmik, 'sais-]
adj. 地震的;因地震而引起的

fault [fɔ:lt]
n. 故障;[地质] 断层;错误;缺点;毛病;(网球等)发球失误vi. 弄错;产生断层vt. (通常用于疑问句或否定句)挑剔

rickety ['rikəti]
adj. 摇晃的;虚弱的;患佝偻病的

earthquake ['ə:θkweik]
n. 地震;大动荡