What are natural disaster problems in Colorado

Natural disasters: The residents of the new mega-cities are most at risk

11.11.2010 – 08:55

Gruner + Jahr, P.M. magazine

Munich (ots)

November 11, 2010 - The number of natural disasters has been increasing for 50 years: Currently, twice as many as in the 1980s and seven times as many as in the 1950s, the "Center for Research on the Epidemology of Disasters" (CRED) in Brussels calculated. In the 1990s, the global death toll averaged 43,000 people a year; between 2000 and 2009 it was 78,000 and in the first quarter of 2010 it was already 300,000. This was due to floods in Pakistan, landslides in China and earthquakes in Haiti .

Like P.M. MAGAZIN reports in the new issue (12/2010 from tomorrow in stores) that most of the victims are in the so-called agglomerations, the new giant cities. The United Nations' "Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction" writes: "The mega-cities that are most at risk are those that stretch over hundreds of kilometers without a plan, infrastructure or functioning administration." The report names three main risk factors that cause "the most terrible damage": uncontrolled urban development, poverty, and environmental degradation.

It's not nature that kills people, it's the circumstances, confirms Kathleen Tierney, natural disaster expert at the University of Colorado in Boulder (USA). "It is not the strength of an earthquake that determines the extent of the catastrophe for people," she says, "what matters is what is happening above the earth."

Half of humanity lives in constant mortal danger from earthquakes - not because the earth would become more restless, but above all because those big cities that line the earthquake belt that stretches from Iran to Japan are growing faster and faster. The large urban landscapes of Southeast Asia, South America and North Africa are acutely endangered, 85 percent of the people threatened by earthquakes live in these zones. On the list of the UN Global Earthquake Safety Initiative (GESI), Kathmandu and Istanbul are in the first two places in terms of the number of expected victims: In Kathmandu (Nepal) an earthquake would have killed 70,000, in Istanbul (Turkey) 55,000.

Note for journalists: In the current issue of P.M. MAGAZINE you will find a list of the ten largest cities in the world as well as a list of the ten most earthquake-prone cities in the world.

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Original content by: Gruner + Jahr, P.M. Magazine, transmitted by news aktuell