Earthquake and the Effects on Agricultural Communities

Around 3.5 million people each year are affected by earthquakes. These Earthquakes cause not just severe damage to urban areas and infrastructure but can also have devastating impacts on the livelihood in agricultural communities. The resulting effects on the rural, farming communities can be devastating. This is particularly true as an earthquake event is even more deadly for low lying rural areas due to side effects such as tsunamis and landslides.

Earthquake and the Effects on Agricultural Communities Production

A rural community can suffer not just through the loss of members of the community but also loss of expensive livestock, damages crops, crop irrigation systems as well as commercial farming premises.
Case studies such as in Pakistan 2005 used the “Sustainable Livelihoods Approach” to put in place a successful rehabilitation strategy. The strategy organised the distribution of seeds, farm tools and more to those in need.
Fortunately, groups are now starting up around the world that are building a resource of knowledge for dealing with earthquakes and the impacts on agricultural communities.

Moroccan Agriculture and the Risk from Seismic Activity
In some regions fragile new micro-economies have grown in recent years to bring investment and social benefits as well as increased wages.

Morocco still employs traditional methods of agriculture. These diverse farming systems are good examples of Agroforestry. With more education there could be real improvements in incomes and standards of living by demonstrating using new land management techniques as well as extending sustainable production to maximise revenue land.

In Morocco the recent explosion of interest in Argan oil has greatly benefited the women of the Berber communities who manage the Argan forests.

Whilst areas such as California in the USA have advanced seismic warning systems and many integrated and organised networks to support the community in the even of an Earthquake countries such as Morocco are much less organised.


Earthquake Planning

Earthquakes may strike with no warning. They can cause dramatic changes to the agricultural landscape and have serious impacts on food production and environment. The loss of a harvest or livestock the destruction of irrigation systems and agricultural infrastructure are a the real problem with long term repurcussions.

Depending on region and the time of year and altitude exposure to extreme cold of people and livestock can result in losses of livestock. Power system that may support communities and farm can also be lost resulting in the freezing of business.
To ensure a back power supply is a priority in earthquake zones but this level of organisation is not available to the agricultural community in most developing countries.