Faculty Advisor

Ma, Yi H.

Faculty Advisor

Zeugner, John F.


The socio-economic effects of Taiwan's Chi-Chi earthquake are presented based on a series of field investigations, interviews, and an extensive literature review. The Chi-Chi earthquake was one of the largest natural disasters to hit Taiwan in this century killing over 2,400 people and injuring more than 10,700. Thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed. Huge landslides, moving millions of cubic meters of soil, were triggered. Large sections of the infrastructure were ruined, sending the northern half of the island into three weeks of power rationing and isolating several mountain villages. The affects on Taiwan's society can be identified in three categories, short term, long term, and old. These effects describe the economic, political, and personal changes that came about as a result of the earthquake. The major topics discussed include the industry-specific economic impact, Taiwan-China relations, the year 2000 Presidential campaign, the psychological affects and volunteer work. A comparison to the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake is also made to highlight the efficiency of the Taiwan governmental response. The comparison focuses on the command structure for the relief and reconstruction efforts and their effectiveness. Suggestions concerning governmental responsibility and the creation of an emergency management organization are recommended based on the discussion described above.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2000

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor Department

Humanities and Arts