Monitoring of the reconstruction process in a high mountainous area affected by a major earthquake and subsequent hazards

Chenxiao Tang*, Xinlei Liu, Yinghua Cai, C.J. Van Westen, Yu Yang, Hai Tang, Chengzhang Yang, Chuan Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Recovering from major earthquakes is a challenge, especially in mountainous environments where postearthquake hazards may cause substantial impacts for prolonged periods of time. Although such impacts were reported in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake and the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake, careless reconstruction in hazard-prone areas and consequently huge losses were witnessed following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in the Sichuan province of China, as several reconstructed settlements were severely damaged by mass movements and floods. In order to summarize experiences and identify problems in the reconstruction planning, a monitoring of one of the settlements, the town of Longchi, was carried out by image interpretation and field investigation. Seven inventories containing buildings, farmlands, roads and mitigation measures were made to study the dynamics of elements at risk and exposure over a period of 11 years. It was found that the total economic value of the newly reconstructed buildings was several times more than in the preearthquake situation in 2007, because of enormous governmental investment. Postseismic hazards were not sufficiently taken into consideration in the recovery planning before the catastrophic debris flow disaster in 2010. As a result, the direct economic loss from postseismic disasters was slightly more than the loss caused by the Wenchuan earthquake itself. The society showed an impact-adapt pattern, experiencing losses from disasters and then gaining resistance by abandoning buildings in hazard-prone areas and installing mitigation measures. The locations potentially exposed to postearthquake hazards were summarized, and a possible timetable for reconstruction was proposed. Problems might be encountered in hazard assessment, and possible solutions were discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1186
Number of pages24
JournalNatural hazards and earth system sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020




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