Local residents wander amidst the ruins of their hometown hours after the earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince January 13, 2010. More than 100,000 people were feared dead in Haiti Wednesday after a calamitous earthquake razed homes, hotels, and hospitals, leaving the capital in ruins and bodies strewn in the streets. With thousands of people missing, dazed survivors in torn clothes wandered through the rubble as more than 30 aftershocks rocked the ramshackle capital, where more than two million people live, most in the grip of poverty.  AFP PHOTO/Juan BARRETO

Axel Bojanowski – World Risk Index – The Human Factor in Natural Disasters

How vulnerable is your country to natural disasters? The 2016 World Risk Index is now out and it shows that infrastructure is a key factor in the ability to withstand events like hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Over and over again, we are reminded of the horrific rule, with a particularly stark example coming in 2010. That year, large cities in Haiti and in New Zealand were hit by earthquakes just a few months apart. The tremors were of the same magnitude, were both quite shallow, had their epicenters not far from large cities and similar causes.

But there was one decisive difference: In Haiti, well over 100,000 people lost their lives, and possibly more than 200,000. In New Zealand, however, the only damage was to buildings.

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