1985 Lázaro Cardenas (Mexico) - Bended railway (Click to enlarge)

Lázaro Cardenas (Mexico)

Lázaro Cardenas is a mexican city next to the sea. In September 1985 an earthquake completely bended the railway. The same shake damaged Mexico City that lies 350 kilometres from Lázaro Cardenas. The earthquake took more than 900 victim and during only a few seconds 95000 people become homeless.

San Francisco (USA)

1906 San Francisco (USA) - People on the streets (Click to enlarge) One of the most unbelieveble earthquakes in the history annihilated San Francisco on the 8th April 1906. The first quakes reached the city at 5:12 AM, when most people still slept. The shake only took 40 seconds, soon it was followed by a newer quake, that took 90 seconds. Thousands of houses collapsed, the scared survivors rushed to the streets. This was only the begining.
Soon conflagration broke out, that increased very fast. The firemen were helpless, because the city's water supply was damaged. The flames devasted for three horrible days. 315 people lost their life through these trials, additional 352 people were lost. From San Francisco's houses more than 30000 were collapsed, whereby 250000 people became homeless.

Thousands of inhabitants of San Francisco came back to the smoking ruins of the town centre, where once they lived and worked.

Here is an extract from the one female survivor, Exa Atl Campbell's letter about the earthquake in 1906:
"That moment I felt, that the house is shaking... I quickly got up from the bed and I ran towards the street door... I was sure, that my house would collapse, before I got out. It shaked like a boat on the stormy sea. People flowed to the street from everywhere... a wailing, moaning, sobbing, crying and praying crowd. The air was depressingly calm... one quake followed by the other... it was as if the heart of old Earth were broken, then, after several beats, slowly and gently passed away."
"Then a terrible conflagration broke out... but there was no water to extinguish it... They could only stand in the fire's way by blowing up the houses."
"The night had fallen, but it wasn't night for us. The reflection of the whole city's flames turned the night to day."

1906 San Francisco (USA) - Conflagration after the earthquake (Click to enlarge)
Deadly Hell

The soldier patrols on the burnt down streets to keep it clear from burglars. The flames that destroyed San Francisco after the earthquake broke out in a women's kitchen, who was bakingmaking the usual ham and eggs for her family. She hoped, that the meal would compensate them for the trials of the quakes.

Fukui (Japan)

1948 Fukui (Japán) Magnitude: 7,3 - The escaping people (Click to enlarge)

Fukui's (Japan) inhabitants escaping from the earthquake of 1948 by jumping between the yawning gaps on the streets. The quake, which measured 7,3 on the Richter scale took 3500 deadly victim. Most of them lost their lives in the conflagration after the quake.

The staggering picture above by was taken by Carl Mydans (photographer), who was just having lunch in a restaurant, when the earthquake reached Fukui in 1948. He described his personal adventure:
"The concrete floor nearly blew up. The desks and the pots dashed into our face, and we were all confused, jumped madly to get our balance back. Then finally I reached the exit, quickly jumped there. However the floor slipped from under my feet and I bumped against the collapsing wall."

Kobe (Japan)

On the 17th january 1995 the citizens awaked to severe disaster. Their historical seaport town was shaken by a vehement earthquake, which measured 7,2 on the Richter scale. The terror didn't take a minute. In a few seconds dwellings collapsed, bridges crashed down and roads became unusable.
The quake at Kobei took 5000 victim, thousands of people injured. More than 190000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Lots of dwellings became inflamed, because the overflowing gas from the corrupted pipes blazed up because of sparks, or in the kitchens, the hot meal fell to the boiling heater. The fires destroyed for two days.
However it wasn't Japan's most catastrophic quake in the 20th Century . Because of the quake in 1923, Tokio and its neighbouring 143000 people died. The quake was caused by Kobe's position, lying on four crustal plate's border.

After the quake
The photo, which was taken directly after the earthquake, demonstrates the extent of the devastation.
Rubber factory of Kobe (Click to enlarge)The rubber factory also lies in ruins, which made the best inflatable rafts in Japan at one time.
Nagata district's ruins (Click to enlarge)In the most seriously damaged Nagata ward, decayed ruins of buildings cover the streets everywhere.
Railway station (Click to enlarge)The terribly strong earthquake of Kobe bended the city's railways topsy-turvy. The monstrous quake also heavily damaged the railway station. Two, individually 29,5-tonner railway carriages had been simply thrown to the top of the near railway station.
The tumbled Hanshin speedway (Click to enlarge)As a result of the earthquake, 1 kilometre long part of the high above in the air Hansin speedway leaned to it's side. The cars and the trucks were simply rolled over the guarding fence.
Hanging bus (Click to enlarge)A bus is hanging on the crumbled Hanshin speedway.