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NEWARK, Calif. - April 21, 2016 RMS, a global catastrophe risk management firm, estimates that economic property damage for both the April 15 moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 earthquake and April 14 Mw6.4 earthquake in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture to be between $2.5 and $3.5 billion USD. This includes damage to property and contents for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. This estimate does not include business interruption, shake and landslide-induced damage to infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges, airports, train transport, utilities, dams), or damage to Kumamoto Castle.

RMS sent a reconnaissance team to the affected area to make an informed assessment. The damage estimate is based on the findings of this visit combined with detailed modeling analyses of how severe the shaking was in different locations. The modeling was carried out using RMS RiskLink version 15.0.

Chesley Williams, RMS senior geophysicist, said “there are hundreds of shallow crustal faults across the Japanese Islands. The events last week were likely associated with the Futagawa - Hinagu Fault System. The damage from these events is concentrated in Kumamoto Prefecture in close proximity to this fault system and was primarily due to strong ground shaking and slope failures.”

Key observations by the RMS reconnaissance team:

  • The principal areas of damage are to the towns of Nishihara-mura, Minamiaso-mura, and Mashiki-machi.
  • The area has a local river network and hilly terrain where landslides or slope failures were triggered in some locations causing localized pockets of damage.
  • Buildings located up-slope from small landslides were relatively undamaged or suffered light damage, whereas buildings on or beneath affected slopes experienced moderate to complete damage.
  • Nearly all buildings that collapsed or had partially collapsed on the slope or the area beneath it were within close proximity of each other.
  • Evidence of soft story failures (for example in stories with less strength due to extensive glazing, wide doorways or other openings) was observed in some buildings with older construction, in addition to pounding (impacts) between neighboring properties, which caused damage across multiple adjacent buildings.
  • Older mixed-use buildings were seen to have sustained damage or in some cases suffered complete collapse because they were inadequately constructed to withstand lateral (sideways) forces.
  • Older, traditional residential dwellings were found to be particularly susceptible to ground shaking and slope conditions.
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About RMS

Risk Management Solutions, Inc. (RMS) helps insurers, financial markets, corporations, and public agencies evaluate and manage global risk from natural and man-made catastrophes, including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, climate change, cyber, and pandemics.

RMS leads the catastrophe risk industry that we helped to pioneer by marrying data and advanced model science with leading-edge technology. Leaders across multiple industries can address the risks of tomorrow through RMS Risk Intelligence™, our open, real-time exposure and risk management platform, enabling them to tap into RMS HD models, rich data layers, intuitive applications and APIs that simply integrate into existing enterprise systems.

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Matthew Longbottom

PR Lead, EU and APAC
+44 20 7444 7706 prteam@rms.com

Devonne Cusi

PR Lead, Americas
+1 551 226 1604 prteam@rms.com
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