Just As I Thought

Poverty and earthquakes

And while the western world was preoccupied with Russell Crowe’s inability to assemble Swedish furniture, thousands of people were killed in an earthquake in Iran.
At least fifteen thousand at last count. In 1990, thirty-five thousand died in one quake.
Last week’s similar-strength earthquake in California killed two people. Two. My ex in California reported that the water level in his pool was down and his chandelier was broken. So don’t tell me that earthquakes kill people: poverty and lack of education kill people.
Even if that 6.5 quake had hit downtown Los Angeles, there wouldn’t have been a horrific death toll of 15,000. The affluence leads to better buildings. No one dies from shaking ground. They die when the buildings fall.
From the BBC:

Since 1991, tremors have claimed some 17,600 lives and injured 53,000 people, according to official figures.

Reuters reports that there is little modern earthquake education in Iran.

“Most people think that what God wills will happen. This is absolutely wrong. This thinking is poisonous,” Tehran University professor Bahram Akasheh told the news agency.

OK, so they could do a better job of educating people about earthquakes, true. But the knowledge that a quake is a natural phenomenon is hardly going to help them when their homes built of mud are collapsing on top of them.

What can be done? How can the poverty that plagues these parts of the world be eliminated so that they can live in safety?

[The difficulty in estimating tragedy: the BBC says 15,000 dead. UPI says 20,000. AP says 5,000. A Singapore newspaper says 4,000, and in China, they hedge by saying “Several thousand people could be killed in a strong earthquake in southeast Iran on Friday, though the interior ministry still could not confirm the actual death toll.” ]

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