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An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks beneath the earth’s surface or by volcanic or magmatic activity in the earth. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and can occur at any time of the year – day or night. Earthquakes can lead to death, injuries and property damage, loss of shelter and livelihood, disruption of critical or lifeline infrastructure, and destroy communities.

Earthquakes are among the deadliest of natural hazards. Most deaths are due to building collapse or to secondary hazards, such as fires, tsunamis, flooding, landslide and release of chemicals or toxic materials. Injuries tend to be due to less-severe building damage, parts of buildings or their contents falling or breaking, and failure to take precautions during aftershocks.