Building damage and casualties after an earthquake

Lu Hengjian, Masayuki Kohiyama, Kei Horie, Norio Maki, Haruo Hayashi, Satoshi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between building damage patterns and human casualties in Nishinomiya City - one of the most heavily damaged cities in the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Disaster - was investigated using photographs of damaged buildings. First, the photographs of buildings in which casualties occurred were identified, and the building damage patterns were judged based on the photographs considering the existence of survival space. Then the relationship between the building damage pattern and casualty occurrence, and the characteristics of casualty distribution, were investigated. The main findings were as follows: Most casualties occurred in relatively old two-story wooden buildings in which the ground floor completely collapsed without survival space; casualties occurred at all building damage levels including "no damage", and it can be seen that building damage is the major, but not the sole cause, of casualties in an earthquake; in Nishinomiya City, the regional distributions of casualties due to the collapse of buildings that left no survival space is similar to that of casualties due to other types of building damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-403
Number of pages17
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • 1995 Hyogo-ken Nanbu (Kobe) Earthquake
  • Building damage
  • Disaster
  • Human casualties
  • Nishinomiya City
  • Photograph
  • Survival space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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