A Note on Transparency and Loss of Life Arising from Earthquakes

Document Type : Seismology and Engineering Seismology


Imperial College, London


This note was prompted by the earthquake of 12 January 2010 in Haiti, which is not the only earthquake in recent years in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, in contrast to the near-zero death toll caused by earthquakes of the same magnitude elsewhere (viz. New Zealand 03.09.10). The Haiti earthquake raises several points that must be addressed in any realistic attempt to mitigate the loss of life arising from earthquakes, in particular the question of whether this enormous difference in human losses is almost entirely due to houses having been poorly constructed due to corrupt practices that allowed poorly sited and constructed houses to be built in seismic regions.