A study of the human-fatality rate in near-fault regions using the Victim Attribute Database

Chih Hung Pai, Yong Ming Tien, Ta Liang Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

After the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake, the Taiwanese government immediately issued new guidelines prohibiting the construction of structures for human occupancy within the Chelungpu fault zone. However, these guidelines were not based upon an in-depth hazard analysis of the near-fault regions. The positions of more than 80% of the 2,492 victims of the Chi-Chi earthquake were found by our research team. A Victim Attribute Database has been compiled that includes the GPS coordinates of the positioned victims as well as other attribute data associated with the victims. The human-fatality rates in the near-fault regions have been analyzed with regard to distances from the Chelungpu fault, the hanging-wall and footwall areas, as well as building type. The severity at the human-fatality rates in the near-fault regions is inversely proportional to distances from the causative fault, i.e., the closer the distance, the higher the human-fatality rate observed. The human-fatality rate for victims who lived in closer proximity to the hanging-wall areas is also significantly higher than those who lived in closer proximity to the footwall areas, especially in areas on either side of the fault and within 1,000 m of the fault surface trace. In terms of different building types, factors that include the capacity of the buildings to resistant strong shaking and the level of strong ground-motion greatly affected the human-fatality rates in the hanging-wall and footwall areas. Therefore simply prohibiting the construction of buildings within the active fault zone would be an insufficient method of reducing the number of potential victims; a nationwide effort should be undertaken to upgrade the capacity of buildings to resist strong shaking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalNatural Hazards
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Chi-Chi earthquake
  • GIS
  • GPS
  • Human-fatality rate
  • The Chelungpu fault
  • Victim Attribute Database

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