Statistical analyses of relation between mortality and building type in the 1999 chi-chi earthquake

Yong Ming Tien, Der Shin Juang, Chih Hung Pai, Chiang Pi Hisao, Chien Jung Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The September 21, 1999 Chi-Chi Earthquake caused great destruction and the deaths of 2492 people. In this paper, the major cause of high mortality in the Chi-Chi Earthquake is inferred by examining the death certificates and construction types of buildings. In addition, the cash relief lists of victims, housing tax records, and demographic data by county, were examined and verified by field visits. Among the 2360 identified victims, there were 2211 victims (94%) who died from the collapse of buildings and 149 victims (6%) who died from other causes, such as landslides. Of the victims who died from the collapse of buildings, 43.5% were in mud-brick residences; 18.6% were in 10-to 15-story RC residential buildings; 16.4% were in RC buildings shorter than 6 stories; 17.4% were in masonry (including reinforced masonry) buildings; 4.1% were in other type buildings. The statistics of mortality and the types of buildings in which victims stayed explicitly show that the collapse of mud-brick residences was the major cause of great loss of lives as a result of the Chi-Chi Earthquake. However, the total or partial collapse of highrise RC residential buildings is responsible for great fatalities in the metropolises. This study on the relation between mortality and the building type provides important information and findings that may be useful to government agencies and researchers who are interested in the mitigation of earthquake disaster.


  • Building types
  • Chi-Chi Earthquake
  • Mortality
  • Statistical analysis


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