The Kobe Earthquake, Ten Years Later

Robert Olchansky; Ikuo Kobayashi; Kazuyoshi Ohnish
October 2005
Planning;Oct2005, Vol. 71 Issue 9, p36
Trade Publication
The article presents a discussion on the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake that hit the city of Kobe in Japan. On January 17, 1995, a disastrous earthquake struck Japan's Hanshin Region--one of the nation's densest urban areas. The quake caused 6,394 deaths and destroyed about 150,000 housing units in Kobe and surrounding cities in Hyogo Prefecture. Another 250,000 housing units were severely damaged. Tens of thousands of people were made homeless, and some neighborhoods burned to the ground in the post-earthquake fires. The earthquake disrupted the lives of residents and affected the economy in innumerable ways. It damaged 85 percent of the region's schools, many hospitals, and other public facilities. Extensive damage to rail, road, and port facilities took up to seven months to repair. Several programs helped to construct permanent housing. The city built nearly 15,000 public housing units and provided low-interest loans for homeowners to rebuild. Other programs helped to subsidize the costs of joint housing and condominiums, and to lower rents. The recovery of Kobe and its neighboring cities over the past 10 years has been impressive.


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