This is an interesting story from Time about the Disaster Divide:

It refers to the vast discrepancy between developed and developing nations in the death toll from natural disasters… That’s why the Bay Area can suffer a 6.9 quake in 1989 and lose just 63 people, while Haiti can suffer a quake just a bit stronger in 2010 and lose at least 100,000 people. Poverty — and even more, poor governance and corruption — is the multiplier of natural disasters.

The article focuses in on South-Asia, which has large populations of people living in a high-quake risk area, with weak building standards. I think we in New Zealand like to think we’re not really included in that group of countries – and probably, we shouldn’t be. But when you look at the way the government has delayed the implementation of building standards for up to 30 years, should we really be so smug? Yup, we consider ourselves a developed nation – but that doesn’t mean we can afford to be complacent when it comes to the protection of our own citizens.

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