Name: Bomar Mendez Rojas

University: National Yang Ming University

Program: International Health Program

                               

According to Taiwan earthquake track online system during may 16th, there have been 11 earthquake ranging their magnitude from 4.4 to 5.6 in Ritcher scale. If you are thinking in coming to Taiwan  you need to aware of this small “detail”, because it is an unavoidable reality. Although as someone that come from a country located in the pacific ring of fire (i.e., Nicaragua), I am used to earthquakes caused by the movement of magma of any of the 19 volcanoes in Nicaragua, in Taiwan  the frequency is higher and the aftershocks sequences are of high magnitude, thus the stress is not only limited to the main quake.

 

In Taiwan there is an important respect towards natural disasters, for example the buildings are built taking into consideration  the high frequency of quakes and floods in certain regions of the country. Also,  children are taught since early age  to react correctly and automatically when the shaking begins. As a result people have learned to live with earthquakes of different magnitudes that occurs at different time of the day. When I just came to Taiwan I asked the way people react to quakes and I learned that one of the first things is approaching to the closest door and opening to avoid it gets blocked. When you are in walking in the street and the quake start the wiser is to find a place with few street lighting that may fell down if the magnitude is high. One of the most recent I remember occurred last week in Taipei, during the morning, as any earthquake its short duration seems to last longer, students and university staff did not come out of their  room or  cubicle. This composure strongly remind me the way most people reacts to a quake in my country and certainly in other countries with a long history in natural disasters. If it is not more than a low magnitude quake, one can even take the time to think deeply of how our planet release its energy.

 

If earthquakes by themselve are stressful events, their impact is higher when it occurs at night. When they occur after midnight the risk of be alarmed is higher than when it occurs during daytime. In the former. Under this circumstance the better is to calm down and minimize confusion. Given structure in Taiwan are designed to withstand earthquakes one can take some time to consider if it is needed to leave the bed, in fact most of the times it may not be needed. Although, it should bearing in mind that earthquakes not always start with strong movements, their intensity can increase gradually from an almost indistinguishable movement to a quake that cause things to fell down.  

 

In conclusion, Taiwan has a strong system to monitor and respond to earthquakes of different magnitudes. The long history of repeated quakes has had an effect on the way the one who live in this country react when quakes start, what prevails is a feeling of safety, on the one hand the strong foundations inculcated since childhood, on the other hand the fact that buildings are earthquake-resistant structures. Yet, the risk of building collapsing cannot be never disregarded, as still are fresh the images of the recent earthquake, magnitude 6.4, that struck Southern Taiwan in february of this year and which death toll was about 120 with hundreds of injured and many people losing their households. As noticed in news, most of casualties came from the collapse of a modern building, while older buildings withstand.