For example, on January 17,
1994, at 4:31 AM Pacific Standard Time, an earthquake registering
on the Richter scale occurred in a previously unrecognized fault in
Los Angeles County's San Fernando Valley, killing at least 60
people. The earthquake caused
considerable damage to health facilities and significant health
Immediately after the shaking stopped, structural and nonstructural
damage forced several hospitals to evacuate patients and move
operations outside (9,10).
Structural damage forced several older hospitals and medical
buildings to cease or reduce operations.
During the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed an
estimated 7,000 people, a total of 4,397 hospital beds were
lost--about one in four of those available in the metropolitan
Mexico City area (119).
Hospital emergency plans in earthquake areas should provide
for the contingency of evacuating patients from the wards; safely
removing critical equipment from operating theaters, radiology
departments, and other parts of the hospital; and re-establishing
routine patient-care services (120).