We have all probably heard the old adage “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do”. Recent temblors in Haiti and earlier in China have tragically demonstrated the truth of this. Out-of-date building codes and regulations, poor enforcement and badly-planned urbanization have all greatly increased the risk of urban disasters all over the developing world.
|First responders from Shanghai training for the Shanghai Expo 2010|
|The World Bank team that visited the facility, I'm the second from the left. This floor has a 15 degree tilt.|
|The markings on this wall indicate the number of victims (V), how many were alive (L) and how many dead (D)|
A final footnote: There is a stark contrast between Haiti and Chile in terms of fatalities: despite being hit by an earthquake 500 times more powerful than the one that hit Haiti, deaths in Chile were 0.1 percent that in Haiti. This is partly because Chile’s codes, their enforcement and quake-resistant building techniques are among the best in the world.