Date: Sat, 18 Feb 95 12:32:55 JST

(The following is a summarized translation of "Great Hanshin Earthquake 
Disaster Report 3."  Japanese version originally written on 03 Feb. 1995
and posted at on 07 Feb. 1995 by Takuya Matsuda.)


Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences 
Faculty of Science
Kobe University
1 Rokkodai
Nada, Kobe

Voice:    81-78-803-0575
Fax:        81-78-803-0490

English summary translated by
Mayumi Morimoto
Department of American Studies
Faculty of Cross-Cultural Studies
Kobe University
1-2-1 Tsurukabuto
Nada, Kobe

The original Japanese version was posted on Kobe University Quake 
related network on Feb. 7, 1995 after  Physical Society of Japan decided 
to publish the report in Butsuri, the journal of association of physicists 
in Japan, already posted at other science related networks.  
Everything in parentheses is translator's note and update as of 17th Feb. 
1995.  The author, Professor Takuya Matsuda, updated his first version for 
Kobe University Quake Bulletin.

Should you consider quoting or publication of the following in any kind of 
media in part or in its entirety, please contact Professor Matsuda at the 
address above.


From: Takuya Matsuda@Kobe University

     It's been already half a month since the great earthquake disaster.  
There is a saying "Even gossiping lasts no more than 75 days" but in this day 
and age of oversaturating information, it may last only 7.5 days.  It seems 
that the interest in the quake related matters are already decreasing in the 
other area than Kansai (mainly the earthquake hit area).  In fact it is 
astounding to see the difference in the attitude if you go from Kansai to 
Tokyo. Or, even from Kobe, Nishinomiya to Osaka, there is a surprising 

     On one side are the pile after pile of rubble and there is an atmosphere 
that resembles the black markets right after the WWII.  People hurrying their 
ways with backpacks and getting on crowded buses used to substitute railway 

     However, just a couple dozen miles away, there is a daily life, quiet and
luxurious.  I go back and forth daily between this usual and unusual, between 
heaven and hell.

     I don't think this is something that would NOT happen to you.  Such a 
disaster could happen to anybody in Japan.  This is why I summarized my 
present impressions and the lessons I learned from this disaster.  I hope this
could be of some help to you.


     Some call it Kansai Earthquake Disaster.  Kansai includes Osaka and Kyoto
so it is not quite correct.  Southern Hyogo Earthquake may be the most 
accurate name.  However, if we exclude the worst hit Awaji Island, Great 
Hanshin Earthquake Disaster is the most appropriate in the sense worst damages
are done to the cities of Kobe, Ashiya and Nishinomiya.  I have heard that 
people in Awaji aren't comfortable with this name.  Other than these cities, 
Itami where I live, and Takarazuka, both in Hyogo Prefecture suffered damages.


     As the earthquake directly hit the area, the damage concentrates in 
relatively small area in Southern Hyogo Prefecture.  Damage is typically  
partial.  Kobe City with Rokko Mountains in the north and the Seto Inland Sea 
on the south is a narrow strip of land stretching east west.  In the narrow 
area run four railways going east west, the railways run almost in  parallel 
lines  through the vicinity of mountain area to the seaside,  Shinkansen- 
(Bullet Train), Hankyu-, Japan- and Hanshin- Railways.  It is really serious 
that all these four lines suffered damage.  Shinkansen suffered damage in the 
area that go through urban areas such as in Itami and Nishinomiya.  The rest 
runs through mountains and did not suffer any damage.

     The roads running east west from the mountain area toward sea are, Route 
2 in the north, Hanshin Expressway with Route 43 beneath it and the  Bayline 
along the shoreline.  Only Route 2 suffered no damage.  There is another 
Yamate Main Highway in further north but this was never completed in Ashiya 
area due to the inhabitants protests (the city could not afford the exorbitant
land prices for the road to complete.)  The Yamate line is intact as well.  
The railway substitute buses start from Route 2  and then go through Yamate 
Main Highway.  You may very well be aware that the old Route 43, (from the 
1960's) suffered great damage, but I feel uncomfortable with the fact that the
brand new Bayline Express Highway suffered damage.

     East portion of Kobe City can be divided into the areas, mountainous area
north of Hankyu Railway, beach area south of Hanshin Railway, the area in 
between these railways  and the artificial islands, Port Island and Rokko 

     Looking around the area in the vicinity of Kobe-University the worst hit 
area is the middle area and then the beach area.  The mountainous area 
suffered little or no damage.

     Kobe University is located on the cliff slopes north of Hankyu Railway.  
There are many condominium complexes and houses around the university on the 
slopes.  At first sight these houses and buildings seem ready to collapse by 
earthquakes but what in fact collapsed are the condominium complexes and one 
or two-story houses on the plain area.

     The key station for us is JR Rokkomichi and it collapsed to rubble and 
the area south to this suffered more damage. Hankyu Rokko station seems OK.

     The same phenomenon is true for the City's central area.  Sannomiya  
downtown area suffered tremendous damage and this is a middle plain area.   
Toward the mountain is an "exotic" (from Japanese viewpoint) residential area 
and these Western residences suffered some damage but not as apparent as 
Sannomiya.  Artificial islands suffered liquefaction damage but they have 
little structural damage to the buildings nor fire hazards and there may be 
few or no deaths there.

     My former student lives in Nagata Ward.  He was to have a wedding on 20th
of January in a hotel near Shin-Kobe Station.  I was to be there as their 
Nakodo (the honored guest as ceremonial match maker) .  I was worried about 
his safety but according to him, their house was located near mountain area in
Nagata Ward and they didn't have any problems.  According to another former 
student of mine, he was worried about his grandmother in the northern area of 
Nagata Ward and hurried to her place only to find her watching TV at Kotatsu 
(Japanese table style heating unit.)  Nagata Ward covers a huge area, I wish 
TV coverage to become more precise and tell which area in the ward is on fire.

     It is to such a scale that the earthquake damage is concentrated. This is
due to the strength of the soil.  It is rocky clay soil in the mountain area 
and weak soil in middle plain and beach area.  The artificial islands are on 
weak soil but the buildings are on piles driven deep down (some of them reach 
original sea bottom) so the building structures remained safe. 

     There are many fault lines on Kobe University campus but all the 
buildings are built avoiding them so there is no building that suffered 
drastic damage at Kobe University.

     I wonder if this is another cause or not but as a result the affluent  
people living near the mountains and on the artificial islands were OK but the
area inhabited by the middle class suffered tremendous damage.  Students' 
apartments are located in the middle area where there are many old apartments 
and wooden houses and suffered a lot of damage.

     The partiality of the damage is really obvious if we look at other  
aspects than the regional factors.  It is almost impressive to see an 
apparently intact building standing right next to the totally collapsed ones. 
This is due to the strength of each building itself, so, again, the new houses
and the luxurious condominiums that the rich live in were safe.  Two of my 
students lost their apartments.  The rents were cheap.  I feel sorry for one 
graduate student who was accepted at Kobe-U and rented an apartment near 
Kobe-U and left her old one and moved all her belongings to this new one on 
15th of January.  She herself was not there when it happened but I don't know 
what happens to her things and the key-money...  I really feel sorry for 


     In regard to personal damage the whole university lost two staff and 39 
students.  In the Faculty of Science we lost one staff, five students.  In our 
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences we lost one staff and one student. 
The staff we lost was a clerical assistant named Junko Asakura.  She had been 
sick and repeated going in and out of hospital.  She was taking sick leave at 
home when it happened.  Her condition aggravated due to the shock and the lack
of food and she was hospitalized two days later but was left untreated and the
condition got worse and finally they put her in ICU but she deceased 10 days 
later on 27th January, 1995.  The student we lost was a junior and the parents
came to the department and gave us \100,000 ($1,000) in expression of their 
gratitude for taking good care of their child.

     Material damage is the experimental equipment.  In the Department of 
Earth Sciences, a professor is in panic, saying a machine that costs 
\60,000,000 ($600,000) got broken. 

    There is also a case in which a book case fell on an electronic  
microscope.  Fortunately in this case, the boxes on top the book case  
functioned as cushioning and the unit itself was not broken.  But liquid  
nitrogen leak does the damage as well so they were all concerned.  In the 
Department of Biology, the animals died due to the power outage and a 
professor lost three year accumulation of a research project.  There was also 
a case where a very heavy safe that we need four people to move jumped on top 
of a sofa.  Is it due to the accelerated vertical velocity over 980 GAL?  I 
have minor damage in my office.  Things on the shelves fell and that's all. 

     In the office of Professor Nakagawa a bookcase fell on the desk and the  
glass pane broke and the steel feet of the desk were bent.  In our computer 
room the bookcase fell but fortunately it didn't reach computers and they are 
OK.  In the office for graduate students no book case fell.  
The door that had been unlatched and was set aside stayed put in the  
original position.  It makes me wonder.  The shelves along the hallway with 
rock samples collapsed and are still down there.  Several graduate students 
were sleeping in the office of Professor Mukai.  A bookcase fell on one of 
them in the stomach area but he didn't get hurt.


     At Kobe University we have electricity now.  Water is not available yet  
(water came back completely on 1st Feb., 1995 on Tsurukabuto Campus which was 
used for evacuee shelters of 600 to 1,100 people since the very beginning) but
multi-purpose water that we extract from the mountain remained open so we can 
flush toilets.  My office has no running water but the office of the graduate 
students was originally a laboratory for experiments so they have 
multi-purpose water running.  To tell the truth we didn't know until then that
the water we were drinking was for toilets.  We have no gas yet.  Our offices 
only have gas heating units so it is extremely cold.  We have only one 
electric heater but it doesn't help.  I used four handy heating bags when
I stayed overnight but they didn't help.


     Internet stayed.  At first the computers at Kobe University did not 
respond and many people must have been concerned.  In the beginning of the 
quake all the computers were down due to the power outage.  The electricity 
came back on a few hours later.  However, the facility people came by and 
turned off the main power switch in fear of fire.  In the departments of  
biology and chemistry, the faculty members who lived nearby came by and  
checked the damage and started electricity.  However, in the departments of 
physics and earth sciences we could not do this and the electricity came back 
on several days later.  The graduate students whose apartment collapsed and 
the family of the secretary came to the university but my office was too cold 
and at night they stayed in the Faculty of Engineering building which had 
electricity on.

     The computer at my office came back on 20 January, 1995 after I walked  
four hours all the way from Nishinomiya Kitaguchi.  Internet has been on since
then.  I received tons of mail.  At Kobe University they are making WWW home 
pages dedicated solely to the Great Hanshin Earthquake Disaster.  If you're 
interested, please check it out.  It seems to be a useful tool for the 
information on the victims and survivors from abroad.

     I'm sure you are aware that the phones were disconnected at the 
beginning.  I hear that the government phone lines went through.  (we have 
government phone lines connected to government facilities at Kobe University.)
In short the dedicated exclusive lines were OK.  I personally hate cellular 
phones.  I doubt the person's common sense when I see somebody talking aloud  
on the trains.  But in such a condition cellular phones came in handy.  I  
talked my department chair over cellular phones on 19th January, 1995.  When I
called him from Kyoto in the morning, he had just left his home by car.  
Toward late afternoon when I reached Itami, he said he was on the road nearby.
In the evening he said he was in Takarazuka.  He arrived in Kobe through 
Arima early next morning.

     The fax machine came back on as soon as the electricity came back,  
however, due to the lack of man power, we couldn't take care of jammed paper 
inside the machine.


     The worst pain in the neck is the transportation.  I live in Itami and it
usually took an hour to commute by Hankyu Railway.  Hankyu Itami Station 
collapsed so Hankyu runs only to Shin-Itami (the next station) and on the Kobe
side it operates only to Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi.  JR operates up to Ashiya 
(currently to Sumiyoshi since Feb. 8) which is closer to the University.  
Hanshin goes further to Ohgi (currently to Mikage).  Right now I take train JR
>from Itami to Amagasaki and change trains and go to Ashiya and take the 
substitute bus to Rokkomichi and then change to Kobe Municipal bus to the 
University.  It takes at least two hours if I was lucky but usually takes 
three hours.  The substitute buses during daytime are very crowded.  Hankyu 
suffered serious damages and the complete service is estimated to resume half 
year later.  JR goes to Sumiyoshi and Hanshin to Mikage in mid-February.  Then
it will be a bit closer to the University (as it is the Kobe Municipal Bus 
terminal for Kobe-U lines.)  It will take half a year for the public 
transportation to come closer to the University.


     At the Faculty of Science we had a meeting with the students on 31st 
January, 1995.  The remaining classes are cancelled and the examinations are 
in essay forms.  The students were notified of the themes and subjects of the 
essays.  They mail their essays to the Faculty.  In our department we 
cancelled our general conference meeting for Master's theses.  Instead each 
group get together and have their conference meeting.  The deadline for the 
theses is also postponed for one month.

     Entrance examinations are postponed for one day.  The venues for the 
exams are Osaka and Okayama Universities as well as Kobe University.  What 
worries us most is the daily life of the incoming freshmen.  It would be 
extremely difficult to find an apartment even if they pass the entrance exam, 
for most of the student rental apartments collapsed or were burnt.  Living in 
Osaka would make commuting more difficult.

     My office was expecting a researcher from Belgium, Dr. H. Boffin, from 
March 20, 1995 and we are concerned about him.  He calculates using SPH.  I 
hope Osaka U. or Kyoto U. could take care of him for half a year.


     There are many levels in earthquake measures, i.e., national government, 
municipal or family levels.  Let's think on a research laboratory level here. 

The most important is the measures to prevent bookcase from falling.  
Secondly, the measures to prevent computers from dropping.  Fortunately I 
didn't have this problem.  

     The next important consideration for the offices to be used as a shelter 
for the staff and students who lost their homes.  I had one sofa that folds 
out to a bed in my office but there was no blanket and nobody could stay 
overnight.  I think it is requisite to keep a foldable coat and a blanket or a
sleeping bag.  The electricity gets back on the earliest among the lifelines 
so electric appliances come in handy.  Micro wave, electric pot were great.  
In the office next door things in the refrigerator got rotten due to the power
outage.  Bad smell filled the hallway.  We wish we had an electric heating 
plate and an electric cooker as well.  Radios and TV sets are necessary.  You 
also need electric heater for the room.

     In the office of Professor Otofuji, Geomagnetism and geoelectricity, 
they are proud of usually holding one hundred parties a year and they have
everything for the purpose in the office.  They claimed that they were the 
general earthquake headquarter for the Department of Earth and Planetary 
Sciences.  According to Professor Otofuji, the parties are disaster drills.  
They received tons of food, information and visitors inquiring about their 
safety.  When I stayed overnight I could used their food, TV and newspapers.  
Their staff safety was not collected on site but it was checked at Chiba 
University.  They received faxes from them.  There was a phenomenon that the 
phones tended to go through between Kanto (Tokyo area) and Kansai rather than 
within Kansai area.

     You should also consider storing food and water in the office.  In 
addition to the above, flash lights and batteries are necessary.  You may be 
better off if you had helmets and tools.  In any case you cannot depend on the
administration, you just have to prepare yourself before it's too late.  I 
recommend all of you to prepare for yourself.  I hope this was of some help.